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West Hartford Exchange Club Honors Police and Firefighter of the Year

Top (from left): Police Chief Tracey Gove, Officer Jeremiah Gagnon, Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor, and Exhange Club President Joe Righenzi. Bottom (from left): Fire Chief Gary Allyn, firefighter Brendon Coen, Righenzi, and Cantor. Submitted photo

The Firefighter of the Year and Police Officer of the Year were honored Wednesday at the West Hartford Exchange Club’s annual ceremony.

Top (from left): Police Chief Tracey Gove, Officer Jeremiah Gagnon, Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor, and Exhange Club President Joe Righenzi. Bottom (from left): Fire Chief Gary Allyn, firefighter Brendon Coen, Righenzi, and Cantor. Submitted photo

Top (from left): Police Chief Tracey Gove, Officer Jeremiah Gagnon, Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor, and Exhange Club President Joe Righenzi. Bottom (from left): Fire Chief Gary Allyn, firefighter Brendon Coen, Righenzi, and Cantor. Submitted photo

By Ronni Newton

More than 200 people were in attendance Wednesday night as the West Hartford Exchange Club held its annual ceremony at the American Legion Hall honoring two individuals chosen for their commitment to the town’s public safety.

Firefighter Brendon Coen was chosen as West Hartford Firefighter of the Year, and Officer Jeremiah Gagnon was chosen as West Hartford Police Officer of the Year.

This is 28th time that the Exchange Club has presented these honors.

According to a news release from the Exchange Club, President Joe Righenzi, who served as emcee, expressed the club’s deep appreciation to West Hartford’s police and firefighters for their service to the community.

Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor read proclamations on behalf of the town, and both Fire Chief Gary Allyn and Police Chief Tracey Gove provided testimonials about the honorees, their backgrounds, and the reasons for their selection.

Coen and Gagnon both humbly thanked their family, friends, fellow police and firefighters, and the Exchange Club for honoring them with this year’s award.

Exchange Club member Rusty Everett organized the evening’s celebration, as he has done for the past 26 years.

In addition to family and friends of the honorees, several Town Council members also attended, including Denise Hall, Leon Davidoff, Beth Kerrigan, and Chris Barnes. Town Manager Ron Van Winkle was also in attendance.

According the the release, the West Hartford Exchange Club’s mission is to make its community a better place to live through programs of service in Americanism, Community Service, Youth Activities and its national project, the Prevention of Child Abuse. The club sponsors the West Hartford Police & Firefighters Annual Service Awards and provides annual scholarships to Hall and Conard graduates. The club also donates to a variety of local charities.

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