Fort Belvoir Police and Military Police honorees pose with Col. Joe Messina, Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Garth Newell at the Mount Vernon/Lee Chamber of Commerce Fire-Police Tribute in Springfield, Nov. 17.
Fort Belvoir First Responders among the honored at Mount Vernon Springfield Chamber Banquet
Col. Joe Messina, Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Garth Newell were on hand at the 16th Annual Mount Vernon / Springfield Chamber of Commerce event, Nov. 17 at the Hilton Springfield Hotel, as the chamber honored exceptional first responders from across Fairfax County.
The Fort Belvoir supervisors recognized Military Police Officers, Firefighters and Army Security Guards for exceptional service.
Capt. Brian Thomas, Law Enforcement Supervisor of the Year
Capt. Thomas is currently the Officer in Charge of Desk Operations and the Master Driver Program for the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Belvoir. Throughout his prestigious career as a member of the Fort Belvoir Community he has served as a Watch Commander, Supervisor, and patrol officer. Over the past several months, CPT Thomas worked tirelessly in preparation for the U.S. Army Garrison Logistics Readiness Centers (LRC) inspection. Through CPT Thomas’ efforts, the U.S. Army Garrison achieved its first ever Commendable award. CPT Thomas’ work has directly contributed to the readiness and capabilities of the Fort Belvoir Police Department and has had a lasting impact on the U.S. Army Garrison. Today we recognize CPT Thomas for his dedication to serve the Fort Belvoir Community and his excellence in leadership.
Staff Sgt. Samantha Risner, Military Police Officer of the Year
On March 10, 2023, at 5 p.m., the Fort Belvoir Station received a frantic call of a possible intentional overdose in Douge Creek Village. Upon units’ arrival, they encountered several upset children downstairs. At the top of the stairs, was the caller, who was pleading with his wife to put a knife down. They observed the wife holding a knife and screaming that she wanted to harm herself. SSGT Risner immediately began calming her and closing in inch by inch. The more SSGT Risner talked to the individual, the calmer she became. Soon after, SSGT Risner got her to put down the knife and move away from it, bringing the situation to a peaceful outcome. Hugs were shared, and a commitment to People First was on full display by the action of SSGT Risner and the other Fort Belvoir Police and Military Police Soldiers that day.
Capt. Philip Young, Police Officer of the Year
Captain Young has been dedicated to the Fort Belvoir community, is professional in his demeanor, and has a positive attitude making him a valuable asset to the department. In addition to his duties as a Watch Commander, Captain Young has willingly taken on additional tasks and responsibilities, always approaching them with a can-do attitude. As one of the department’s Firearms Instructor’s, he has demonstrated a strong ability to identify, analyze and solve problems on the range while providing exceptional leadership. Captain Young has been instrumental in developing a sense of cohesion and teamwork, while properly training multiple agencies in proficiency and readiness with their service weapons. He consistently exemplifies the department's core values and provides excellent customer service.
Lt. Christopher Ferris, Investigator of the Year
Lt Ferris, a senior Traffic Investigator, voluntarily took on additional investigator/administrative duties which allowed the current Traffic Supervisor to help the Chief of Police manage personnel and administrative functions, as well as daily duties within the police department. LT. Ferris began to mentor other young officers and Soldiers, seeking to become better investigators. LT. Ferris showed his true leadership skills, managing and coordinating security details, as well as traffic management plans for special events, escorting VIPs, as well as leading the coordinating efforts for the protection of high-profile dignitaries visiting the Fort Belvoir installation. Post-COVID, as the demands of the traffic section began to increase, LT. Ferris assisted Garrison Public Affairs in giving the Fort Belvoir Police Department a voice and a face, connecting the community with law enforcement initiatives, as well as educating the public on Virginia State laws requiring enforcement action.
Adam Stover, Fire Company Officer of the Year
Captain Stover is an outstanding officer, professional, colleague and friend to all, coupled with being an outstanding leader on and off-duty. He serves as a representative on the Army’s Wildland Firefighting work group. Captain Stover served as category manager during the CFAI International Accreditation process by offering the department with his vast knowledge and assessment of our wildland firefighting capabilities. Additionally, he serves as a leader on our Personal Protective Equipment committee, where he strives to ensure our protective equipment provides the highest level of safety. Captain Stover is a proud husband to Becca, and outstanding father to 2 daughters Haley and McKayla.
Ryan Barlow-McCall, Firefighter of the Year
Firefighter Ryan Barlow-McCall consistently inspires and educates those fortunate enough to work alongside him. His infectious positive attitude and unwavering work ethic set a remarkable standard for his peers that creates a ripple effect of motivation throughout the team. Ryan’s relentless pursuit of personal and professional growth is evident through his readiness to embrace new challenges and consistently seek out training opportunities. He consistently exemplifies the principles that are at the heart of our organization by demonstrating integrity, respect, and teamwork that sustain our organizational vision of taking care of people in our community. Firefighter McCall enjoys spending time with family and friends when he’s not at work or volunteering in his community at the Boulevard Heights Volunteer Fire Department in Prince Georges County, Maryland.
Johnny Roberts Jr., Firefighter Medic of the Year
Firefighter/Medic Roberts’ selfless service is shown daily at the Davison Airfield firehouse. He is always mission ready, training, teaching others, and ensuring all equipment is prepared for any emergency. Firefighter/Medic Roberts provides an aptitude of knowledge working with new and existing employees on the probationary process, driver’s release processes, and various in-station trainings. Well known as the “go-to guy” within the station who can often be found working on self-started projects that improve the quality of life for crews and a true demonstrator of great pride for his firehouse. Firefighter / Medic Roberts is a proud husband to Jessica and father of four: John, Noah, Kai, and Taylor.
Heung Chu, Army Security Guard of the Year
Officer Heung Chu is a Security Guard performing access control under all conditions in an exemplary and professional manner. His expertise helps to detect, deter and mitigate potential threats against government personnel and property. Officer Chu has vetted thousands of personnel and spends countless hours on the National Crime Information Center for vetting access to Fort Belvoir and denying access to criminals. He always takes personal ownership in the Directorate’s success and accepts additional responsibility to train fellow team members as he is a subject matter expert in physical security. Officer Chu speaks three different languages, which contributes to his outstanding service through effective and greatly-appreciated communication skills. His selfless service as the Garrison’s first line of defense workforce continues to keep the Fort Belvoir community safe and secure.
Paul Lara, Public Affairs Specialist