The Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office honored its staff, volunteers and local citizens Thursday at its annual awards ceremony in the Board of Supervisor's chambers.
The chamber was filled with Sheriff's Office staff and family members and spirits were high.
Lt. Neil Evans officiated the ceremony, and Sheriff Jim Mele made the opening remarks about how the staff are like a family.
"There's a commitment here. Our family is the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office. We grow, we learn … but the underlying feeling is appreciation and love," Mele said.
"I know that we appreciate you. We love you. We are proud of the service you do," Mele said to the audience.
New employees, including a clerk, deputies, a dispatcher and undersheriff, were ceremonially sworn in by Mele.
Sheriff's Office staff who have been promoted in the past year were recognized.
Staff members were honored for their years of service, from five years to 30 years.
The Sheriff's Office Recruitment Team, charged with recruiting new deputies, was given a unit citation award.
"We thank you for your dedication and professionalism," Mele said.
The Sheriff's Community Service Unit was given a unit citation for its service during the Rim Fire.
The Search and Rescue Team had six of its 32 team members present to receive a unit citation award for service and volunteering during the Rim Fire.
The Sheriff's Office also gave out Outstanding Citizen Awards to three people, including Search and Rescue Team members Paul Carlson and Jonathan Rodriquez, for their service during the Rim Fire.
The third Outstanding Citizen Award was given to Kasey Leonard, who on Sept. 12, 2012, was working as a clerk at the Columbia Candy Kitchen in The Junction shopping center when she was robbed at knifepoint.
For the full story see today's Union Democrat.