Posted by Eddie Soleme on May 29, 2018
District 5790, once again, recognized vocations that live the Rotary moto, “Service Above Self.”  On Saturday, May 18, 2018, at the annual District Conference, awards were presented to a Teacher, a Veteran, a Police Officer and a Firefighter.
Clubs around the district recognized these professions throughout the year at their weekly meetings.  The clubs then submitted a nomination for each profession to the district for recognition at the district level.  Each of those nominations, from the various clubs, were compiled and presented to a panel of judges who then selected one person to be recognized for each profession.
The winning Teacher was Ms. Jennifer Muirhead.  Jennifer was nominated by the Mid-Cities Pacesetters Rotary Club.  She is a teacher at Trinity High School in the HEB ISD.  She is a hard worker who works diligently to help kids succeed.  Jennifer became a Rotarian in 2015, when she accepted the responsibility of being the charter sponsor for the Trinity High School Interact Club.  She accepted the responsibility because she wanted to find a vehicle to get some of the “not so popular” students involved.
She has also served in so many different capacities not required of a teacher.  She has been a class sponsor, a volunteer coach, a coordinator for Red Ribbon week and mentored teachers for several years.  All these projects can take lots of extra time and Jennifer has served sometimes multiple of these in a given year.  Jennifer was also selected as Teacher of the Year for Trinity High School.
She is a single mother with two children.  She has a daughter attending LSU and a son in junior high.  She received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Kansas Wesleyan University.  She will receive her Masters in Educational Leadership and Administration from UTA in May.
The winning Police Officer was Christopher Todd Coots from the Flower Mound Police Department.  He was nominated by the Flower Mound Rotary Club.  Officer Coots has been a police officer for 6 years.  During that time he has worked as a patrol officer and a bicycle officer.  He is described as a warm, friendly and kind person who excels at community engagement.  He is also a peer leader and a solid, professional officer.
In 2017 Officer Coots was attempting to make an arrest for shoplifting when the suspect took off running.  When Chris caught the suspect a fight ensued.  During the fight the suspect pulled out a dagger and stabbed him in the face.  He plunged the blade through his right cheek, between his teeth, puncturing the back of his throat.  During the confrontation his duty belt had been torn away so he did not have any means to defend himself other than to keep fighting.  He was able to disarm the suspect and regain control until help arrived.  He demonstrated great resolve and displayed a warrior mindset and stayed in the fight, subsequently taking the suspect into custody.  He then returned to full duty only three weeks after the stabbing.
Officer Coots would say, “I’m no hero.  I was just doing my job.”  The fact of the matter is that not everyone can do what Chris did.  Furthermore, Chris does not need praise or attention to tell him who he is, or what a great job he did that night or any other night during any other of the hundreds of shifts he’s worked watching over the community he loves while we sleep safely.  It’s just who he knows he is.  That’s why he is honored but embarrassed, and we’re so proud to recognize him for his community service and daily self-sacrifice for our safety.
The winning Firefighter was Chief Calvin Chaney from the Breckenridge Fire Department.  Chief Chaney, a sixteen year veteran of the city, wears many hats, He also serves as the Fire Marshall for the City and County, the Chief Code Enforcement Officer, Chief Building Inspector, head training officer for the Texas Commission on Fire Protection for ocal personnel, the Flood Plain Administrator and has oversight for the Animal Welfare Department.
He responds to all fires, attends all City Commission meetings, Planning and Zoning meetings, Board of Adjustment meetings, and most County Commissioner meetings.  He helped the Fire Department acquire a new fire truck bay and new pumper, the animal welfare team rehab the animal shelter, the code enforcement team demolish 61 sub-standard structures, and led the emergency management team to rescue multiple victims of the 2016 Memorial Day flood and recover one fatality.  Chief Chaney was nominated by the Breckenridge Rotary Club.
The Military Member of the Year was presented to a WWII veteran, Chief C.F. Hunt from the United States Navy.  Chief Hunt was nominated by the Arlington Sunset Rotary Club.  He served as a Chief in the U.S. Navy from 1940 to 1946.  He was stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed and his ship, the Minneapolis, was the second most decorated ship during World War II.
Chief Hunt fought in 17 major battles including the battle of Midway, Guadalcanal and Okinawa.  While in battle near the Philippines the Minneapolis was torpedoed and hundreds of men were killed.  The ship was incapacitated and took three months to repair.  The men had to hide and keep the ship camouflaged as Japanese pilots circled the Island.
After the war, “Tex” married Wanda McFerrin and bought a farm a farm in Cotton Center, Texas, where they raised their 3 children.  After Wanda passed away in 2013, Tex moved to Arlington to be closer to his son.  He recently celebrated his 98th birthday.
As you can see these were all well deserved recognitions.  District Governor Chris McLucas and Vocational Chair Angie Cox were proud to recognize each and every one of the recipients.