Oceanside CA— The annual American Legion Law and Order Awards Dinner, presented by Tri-City Medical Center, was held Thursday night at the Oceanside Elks Club. Twenty-eight local heroes were recognized by the American Legion-Post 146 and the Oceanside Elks Club for their service to the people of north San Diego County coastal communities in 2017 at the event with Kevin Johnstone as the Master of Ceremonies. Additional sponsors include: The American Legion Auxiliary, OFD Chief Rick Robertson and individual contributors Kevin Johnstone and Bob Noble.
Honors including; Medal of Valor, Citizens Medal for Heroism, Medal for Heroism and the Medal of Merit were presented to local citizens, Members of the California Highway Patrol, California State Lifeguards, Carlsbad Police and Fire Departments and the Oceanside Police and Fire Departments.
Below and on the following pages are the awardees and a brief description of the events that took place leading to the nominations for their particular award in the order they were presented. A special thank you to Kevin Johnstone for compiling the recap of events that led to the awards.
Medal of Merit
Rhonda is currently serving at the Oceanside CERT Program Coordinator. She took on this role in 2017 after serving the program in many progressively responsible capacities since 2009. These include Instructor, Lead Instructor, Training Manager, and now Program Coordinator. Rhonda has a passion for CERT and for those who join the program. She has donated countless hours teaching disaster preparedness. She leads and instructs the Teen CERT program at Oceanside High School. Rhonda has also contributed through her participation and instruction at several San Diego County Disaster Drills. Rhonda has said that her goal is for the City of Oceanside to have the best CERT program in the County
Bob Culbert is the founder and leader of the Rancho Carlsbad Emergency Response Team (RCERT). He is also a member of the City of Carlsbad Community Emergency Response Team (Carlsbad CERT).
Rancho Carlsbad is a community of approximately 504 manufactured homes for 55+ seniors located on 106 acres. Rancho Carlsbad is located in the wildland urban interface and parts of Rancho Carlsbad lie in FEMA flood zones. Rancho Carlsbad is potentially vulnerable to wildfire, flooding, earthquake, high winds/fallen trees, power outages, and other natural and human cause disasters. Rancho Carlsbad was just 1/2 mile from the site of an active shooter school attack.
Recognizing these hazards, and after completing CERT training, Bob approached the City of Carlsbad Emergency Preparedness Manager about developing a community-based emergency response team, modeled after CERT, for the Rancho Carlsbad community.
The City of Carlsbad Emergency Preparedness Manager provided 10 hours of training modeled after the CERT program. Bob Culbert built the Rancho Carlsbad preparedness program and emergency response team on that foundation.
The Rancho Carlsbad Emergency Response Team is made up of Rancho Carlsbad residents. Many of the RCERT members have also completed Carlsbad CERT training. Bob Culbert is the team leader of RCERT and serves as resident Incident Commander for large-scale emergencies that arise in Rancho Carlsbad until first responders arrive.
Faye Escomiendo is a Community Service Officer II for the City of Carlsbad and was recently named ‘Civilian Employee of the Year’. According to her supervisor, No one works harder than CSO Escomiendo. She carries a full caseload and then some. While working active cases on a wide variety of property crimes, she took on duties for C.O.V., Family Services, and even assisted in Property and Evidence. If someone needs something done correctly and quickly, they give it to CSO Escomiendo. She has worked hundreds of cases, many with little to go on, and has developed probable cause on dozens of these cases that many law enforcement professionals would have written off as unsolvable. During the Lilac Fire, CSO Escomiendo staffed the E.O.C. and took charge. Her efforts caught the eye of not just her Police Department partners, but also city staff at the highest levels. CSO Escomiendo is an ideal employee and Carlsbad PD is better because of her.
Tenacious, Committed, and Reliable. CSO Escomiendo is committed to our mission. Her work product is impeccable, and everything she does helps ensure our organizational success. She is respectful to her peers and citizens alike. CSO Escomiendo does the work of three full-time, QUALITY employees.