On a day when much praise was laid upon them, two Lawrence emergency officers had little to say in response.
Lawrence Police Officer Bronson Star and Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical Engineer Greg Murray were honored for their work Sunday at a ceremony that took place at the Fraternal Order of Eagles Lodge, 1803 W. Sixth St. Star received the Reverence for Law Award, and Murray was the recipient of the Excellence in Fire Prevention and Medical Service Award.
Star, a North Dakota native and a graduate of Haskell Indian Nations University, joined the police department in 1999 and was cited for his work ethic and his participation in many facets of law enforcement, including field training and undercover work.
Police Chief Ron Olin said Star's accomplishments garnered him praise from his peers.
"Once we got to the end of the day, we thought Officer Star had significant contributions to our department. Just a very hard-nosed, good-work-ethic type of guy," Olin said.
Star, who was nominated by his colleagues, was humble as he received the award.
"I spoke to a lot of officers that have received the award before. It's thought of highly in the department, so it does feel good to receive the award and get a pat on the back," Star said.
"We have 143 officers, and only one gets it per year, and we've only given 30 of them out, so it's pretty difficult to get," Olin said. "It's a real accomplishment, and Officer Star is very deserving."
Murray also was nominated by his peers and was equally soft-spoken about the award.
"It's quite an honor. I never expected to receive this," he said. "I hope I can carry on the tradition and do my part to make this award what it is."
Fire Chief Mark Bradford told the audience of about 50 police and fire personnel, families and volunteers, that selecting one individual from the department was difficult.
But he said that Murray's wide breadth of experience and long history with the department made him an ideal candidate.
"One of the things that's unique about Engineer Murray is that he fulfills basically any role we need," Bradford said. "He's held a variety of ranks within the department, so again, he's well-versed in the different facets that we're required to provide on a daily basis."
The Eagles present the awards annually.
"It's good to get everybody together and share the respect of the departments," said Dean Brown, a past president of the group. "A lot of people get down on our fire department and police department, but they risk their lives every day of the year for us."
The Eagles' Ladies Auxiliary honored its volunteers of the year as well. Longtime member Pearl Schneider and W.D. Rake were praised for their dedication to the Eagles organization.