In what was primarily a light-hearted event, Clark County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Allais took a brief second to clear his throat.
He was speaking about the 17 volunteers with the Sheriff’s Auxiliary who helped with the memorial for slain Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin DeRosier on April 24. The volunteers spent eight hours at Port of Portland Terminal 2, which had extra parking for the memorial, directing people from their cars to a shuttle that brought them to and from the Chiles Center at the University of Portland.
“They were behind the scenes making this whole event happen,” Allais said.
A ceremony Thursday night at St. Joseph Catholic Church’s parish hall, 400 S. Andresen Road, honored hundreds of public safety volunteers in Clark County. The volunteers donated more than 20,000 hours last year, estimated near $500,000 in value, Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency spokesman Eric Frank said.
“That’s a pretty good number,” Frank said.
Local volunteers with the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Community Emergency Response Team, Medical Reserve Corps, Vancouver police’s Neighbors on Watch and Volunteers in Public Service, the Vancouver Fire Department’s Fire Corps, and the sheriff’s office’s Search and Rescue team were also recognized. A few of the groups are part of Citizen Corps, a program that trains people across the U.S. to assist in disaster recovery.
“It’s going to take folks like you to help us come back (from a major disaster),” Frank said.