Officers honored for actions at Concord Police Foundation’s annual fundraiser

There was a full house at the 2nd Annual Concord Police Foundation Awards Dinner and Fundraiser.
There was a full house at the 2nd Annual Concord Police Foundation Awards Dinner and Fundraiser.(MICHAEL ANDERSON S | Michael A. Anderson Photography)
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 9:55 AM EST
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CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - The Concord Police Foundation held its second annual Awards Dinner on Thursday night at the Great Wolf Lodge. More than 400 officers, family members, community and civic leaders were in attendance.

The mission of the Concord Police Foundation is “supporting those who protect us.” The objectives are to:

  • Provide financial assistance to officers seriously injured or killed in the line of duty; and for officers who experience out-of-pocket expenses from a work-related injury (physical or emotional) that is otherwise not covered by their employer.
  • Provide officers with tuition assistance in the form of merit-based and/or need-based grants/scholarships; as well as advanced training otherwise not otherwise budgeted by the department.
  • Plan, facilitate, and/or financially support team-building efforts with an aim towards achieving the Concord Police Department’s Vision and Mission.
  • Provide training and/or equipment that cannot be readily funded through the department’s budget.
  • Develop and commission a historical display inside police headquarters to showcase the Concord Police Department’s rich history of service to the community.
  • Provide financial assistance to support the Concord Police Department’s annual holiday dinner. This family-friendly event represents a much-needed opportunity for department employees and their families to spend time with each other away from the dangers and stress of their typical work environment.
  • Publicly recognize some of the truly heroic and service-oriented work of the Concord Police Department through the Foundation’s Annual Awards Dinner and Fundraiser. This event serves as the Foundation’s signature fundraising opportunity while at the same time showcasing the dedication, professionalism, and sacrifice of the men and women who dedicate their lives to keeping the City of Concord one of the safest cities in North Carolina.

The organization holds the annual fundraiser to recognize the accomplishments of officers over the past year, and hear updates from Concord Police Chief Gary Gacek and Board Chairman Steve Steinbacher.

Commendations were presented to recognize employees who go above and beyond in service to the department and the community.

Commendations are categorized for Heroism (Medal of Valor, Meritorious Conduct, Lifesaving, and Purple Heart); Service (Chief’s Superior Leadership, Distinguished Service, Excellence in Police Service, and Community Service); Coworker of the Month; and Coworker of the Year.

Employees are nominated for these commendations internally by other employees, or externally from a citizen, business, or civic organization. A commendations committee – comprised of a diverse group of volunteer employees – meets monthly to review nominations and recommend commendations to the chief of police.

Coworkers of the Month included MPO Brandon Banker for February, MPO Spencer Ward for March, , PO Bradley Oppy for April, Sergeant Brian Pizzino and PO Christopher Jurczak for May, MPO Amanda Mayberry for June, MPO Paul Stackenwalt for July, MPO Rachel Collins for August, MPO Thiago Desouza for September, MPOs Andrew Kelemecz and Marty Barnhardt for October, MPO Joel Patterson for November, and MPOs Andrew Kelemecz and Steven Hollifield for December.

Police Officer James Baumgarten and Master Police Officer John Cox earned the Community Service Award.

The Excellence in Police Service award was presented to Detective Chrislynn Hartsell and Police Officer Sarai Rauda for separate incidents.

The Distinguished Service award is presented to Detective Lindsie Youngo and Police Sergeant Brad Parker, as well as Master Police Officer Marty Barnhardt and Master Police Officer Terrill McCain.

The Chief’s Superior Leadership award was presented to Master Police Officer Larissa Shaver.

The Lifesaving Award was presented to Police Officer Sam Wimbrow for one incident, and to Police Officer Corey Palin, Police Officer Bryan Phillips, Master Police Officer Michael Lopez for a second incident.

The Meritorious Conduct award was presented to Master Police Officer Stafford Hamilton, and to Police Officer Jeremy Howarth and Police Officer Maria Westphal.

Howarth and Westphal were also selected as Coworkers of the Year. To be considered for the Coworker of the Year commendation, an employee must be a previous Coworker of the Month award recipient for the applicable calendar year; or, a heroism or service award recipient during the applicable calendar year. Work performance can be based upon a single incident or action taken, or a combination of factors as long as those factors occurred within the same calendar year.

To learn more about the Concord Police Foundation or to make a donation, visit