The honors continue to roll in for Westminster resident Bruce Lohr, a member of the Howard County Police Department.
Officer Lohr was recognized for coming to the aid of a Maryland state trooper in an incident on Interstate 95 in Harford County in October and was chosen as the Howard department's officer of the year Thursday, when the Howard County Chamber of Commerce honored 10 educators and 29 public safety workers at its third annual Community Awards Night in Marriottsville.
Officer Lohr, 36, and Howard County Sheriff's Deputy Sgt. Rodney Stem, 41, received bronze medals for coming to the aid of state Trooper John E. Appleby on Oct. 28.
The two officers spotted the trooper on the ground on I-95 in Harford County as two men tried to take his gun.
They came upon the incident while returning from a hate-bias seminar in Delaware. State police said the officers got out of their vehicle, yelled "Police," and drew their guns. The attackers surrendered.
In December, Officer Lohr and Sergeant Stem were honored by Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker, himself a Carroll native, with a proclamation praising their bravery, work and dedication.
And in November, Gov. William Donald Schaefer gave the two officers citations for rescuing Trooper Appleby.
After receiving their awards from Mr. Ecker in November, Sergeant Stem and Officer Lohr downplayed their actions, but Trooper Appleby did not.
"They say they're not heroes. They are in my eyes and my wife's eyes and my family's eyes," Trooper Appleby said. "I know in my mind if it weren't for them, I wouldn't be here today."
Two more police officers, two teachers and a firefighter from Carroll were among others honored Thursday.
Officer Jeffrey Giroux and Pfc. Merritt Bender, both from Carroll, received honorable mention awards for their help in armed robbery cases.
Howard County fire Sgt. Thomas Lowery of Westminster received a a bronze medal for assisting a fire victim. He was cited for "an act of valor involving great personal risk."
Rebecca Barbusca of Eldersburg, a resource teacher for gifted and talented children at Northfield Elementary, and Veronica Bohn of Woodbine, a business education teacher at Atholton High, were among 10 educators of the year honored Thursday.
"It's our way of saying thank you to those citizens who have made Howard County a better place to live," Don Wood, the master of ceremonies, told a crowd of more than 500. Mr. Wood is a regional vice president of Maryland National Bank, a &L co-sponsor of the awards dinner.
"It is very easy to accept setbacks," said keynote speaker Connie Unseld, owner of a private school in Baltimore and wife of Washington Bullets' basketball coach Wes Unseld.
"These honorees stayed focused," Mrs. Unseld said. "Sometimes they stood alone. They have an effect today as well as tomorrow . . . and are guilty of having a passion for life."
She told the recipients that the awards they were about to receive were "the deserved fruits of [their] labors."
Mrs. Unseld also commended the families of the award winners for their "tolerance, patience and understanding."
And she appealed to those in the audience who are not involved in community service to become involved.
"In helping others, you can help yourself," she said.