Rock County Sheriff's Office honors residents, employees
Here is a summary of the awards as described by the sheriff's office:
Citizen of the year
Julie Grandeffo's dedication to helping one of her students in a time of need "demonstrates her caring, compassion and friendship and can serve as an example for us all," according to the sheriff's office.
A Rock County deputy connected with Grandeffo after three people were killed and a fourth injured in a traffic crash in May 2011.
A teenaged boy was at home when his mother and brothers died in the crash. His father was hospitalized with serious injuries.
During the investigation, the deputy learned the teen had a teacher he liked at Parker High School.
Grandeffo responded to the deputy's call. She met with the teen at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center, Janesville. She took him to University Hospital, Madison, so he could see his brother before he died.
She also opened her home to the teen and let him stay until his family members could come from out of state to care for him.
Correctional officer of the year
Correctional Officer Myra Sanchez was recognized for the compassionate and emphatic manner in which she interacts with inmates at the Rock County Jail. She has worked at the jail for five years and is assigned to the Workender division and the Rock County Gang Unit.
She is bilingual and has been described as "an informal leader with all the characteristics and qualities you would look for in a correctional officer."
Community service award
Sgt. Wayne Hansen is a 25-year member of the Rock County Sheriff's Office. Outside of work, he is the varsity volleyball coach at Milton High School. He volunteers to coach basketball and volleyball at St. John Vianney School. He manages a volleyball camp for girls ages 11 to 14, coaches a volleyball club team and is a referee with the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletics Association.
"Sgt. Hansen serves as an excellent role model and is committed to mentoring youth. (His) dedication to our youth demonstrates the importance of teaching positive attitude, teamwork, and sportsmanship that each person will carry for the rest of their lives."
Community service award
Capt. Craig Strouse started his career with the sheriff's office in 1994. He has worked his way through the ranks to his current duties as the operations captain of correctional services. Strouse has consistently served his community both while at work and outside of normal duty. He served in the Wisconsin Army National Guard for six years, served as an Edgerton School Board member for three years and is on the Town of Fulton Planning and Zoning Board.
Strouse is a hunters safety instructor and coaches baseball and football for youth in the Edgerton area. He is a vice president of the church council at Trinity Lutheran Church, Edgerton. He has served as a mentor for youth in his community during his entire career.
"Capt. Strouse's dedication and compassionate commitment to the Rock County community serves as an example to us all and should be commended."
Deputy of the year
Deputy Matthew N. Pyne is recognized for his 20 years of service to Rock County, including involvement in various specialty teams during his tenure.
"Deputy Pyne has an outstanding work ethic and integrity, which results in the highest echelon of respect amongst his peers."
Pyne has worked at the department since 1992 and has been a deputy since 1998.
"Deputy Pyne is detail oriented, and his investigations are stringently thorough."
He has been a field-training officer since 2003 and has trained numerous new deputies. He has been known to spend time at homing planning training sessions.
Deputy Pyne has been a member of the water patrol team since 2001. His knowledge of boating and general rescue is one of the best at the sheriff's office. He spent countless hours restoring an airboat and an ATV and equipping the team's van.
"An employee such as deputy Pyne allows our agency to maintain a status as one of the best in the state."
Employee of the year
Administrative Assistant Cristine Firkus has gained the respect of coworkers and supervisors alike with her work ethic, positive attitude and sense of responsibility toward the sheriff's office.
Firkus took on extra time-sensitive responsibilities during a coworker's maternity leave. She earned a positive performance evaluation for her efforts in addressing a Crime Information Bureau audit of the TIME data communication system, reviewing all entries for accuracy and applying state Department of Justice rules to the entries.
Sheriff F. Joseph Black Leadership Award
"Throughout his career, Correctional Supervisor Larry Klusmeyer has received and excelled at completing special projects."
He was a key stakeholder in developing and implementing the jail classification system and the jail expansion project. He also was the supervisor on the jail transition team that developed workflow and procedures to for the jail renovation. He took the lead in organizing and training the jail staff in the new electronic security aspects of the jail.
Klusmeyer started working for the department as a correctional officer in 1994.
Awarded were Gray's Brewing, correctional officer Daniel Banks, correctional officer Jaysen Cleasby, correctional officer Charlie Cowan, correctional officer Larry Delorimer, correctional officer Jackie Gerber, nurse Gracie Guerrero, correctional officer Jason Brown, two awards to Sgt. Kimberly Litsheim, nurse Brandi Malcook, two awards to correctional officer Barb Meister, correctional officer Dennis Meyer, correctional officer Brian Roeder, correctional officer Nicole Tadder, nurse Renae Thompson, correctional officer David Vandennoven, correctional officer James Walsh, deputy Gregory Westness and correctional officer Erin Wilson.
-- Correctional Officer Andrew Brown for his work maintaining the office's scuba equipment.
-- Deputy Thomas Kunkel for his work as a training officer.
-- Secretary Patricia Swartout, for her work revamping the sheriff's office annual report, development of the office's electronic crime mapping and improvements to technology services.
-- Rodney Vanbeek, Mercy Health Systems, volunteer member of the Rock County Sheriff's Office SWAT Team.
Front office and civil process clerical staff.