Hometown Heroes

Elks Lodge 2408 of Bullhead City honored four area first-responders at its annual Hometown Heroes awards dinner Saturday night. From left are Derek Stephenson of the Fort Mojave Mesa Fire Department; Wilbert Jones of the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office; Brian Morin of the Bullhead City Police Department; Kenny Read of the Bullhead City Fire Department; and Melanie Read, chairwoman of the Lodge 2408 Americanism Committee.

BULLHEAD CITY — The four honorees at Saturday night’s Hometown Heroes awards dinner at Bullhead City Elks Lodge 2408 had two things in common.

All have accomplished great things in their chosen professions. And all have an aversion to talking about themselves.

A full house recognized the recipients at the event conducted annually by the Lodge 2408 Americanism Committee.

The honored individuals were Bullhead City Police Cpl. Brian Morin, Mohave County Sheriff’s Deputy Wilbert Jones, Bullhead City Fire Department Firefighter Kenny Read and Fort Mojave Mesa Fire Department Engineer Derek Stephenson. Collectively, they have contributed many years of service to the Tri-tate. Collectively, they said about 400 words in their acceptance speeches.

“This is an honor,” said Morin, who also was honored as the police department’s Officer of the Year, selected by his peers. “Everything is about community. I grew up here ... my wife and I are raising our family here. ...”

“The community is a big part of what we do,” said Jones, who became the first MCSO representative honored by the Bullhead City Elks. After paying tribute to his colleagues in law enforcement and firefighters, he also paid homage to others in attendance.

“Without you guys’ support, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”

Then, with his boss in attence, he closed his short speech with a plug.

“Vote for Doug Schuster,” he said. Schuster, the Mohave County sheriff, is seeking reelection this year.

Politics wasn’t part of the words of thanks from Read or Stephenson.

“I’m very honored for this award,” said Stephenson after warning the audience that his speech was going to be short. It was, but it was heart-felt.

“I’m honored and blessed,” said Read.

Morin has been a member of the Bullhead City Police since 2001. He reached the rank of corporal in 2017. He serves as an instructor at the Western Arizona Law Enforcement Training Academy.

Jones is a relative newcomer to the Tri-state, joining the sheriff’s office as a detention officer before becoming a deputy in 2016. He was assigned to the patrol division, where he has been credited with 218 drug arrests among his 506 total arrests. He was placed on a special unit in 2019 and was named the department’s Deputy of the Year for efforts that included the biggest single highway interdiction money seizure in the nation, a haul of more than $1 million.

Stephenson began his career with the Bullhead City Fire Department in 2012 before moving to Mohave Valley and eventually to the Fort Mojave Mesa department in 2016, earning the rank of engineer.

Read joined the BCFD after graduating from the fire academy in 2007 — following several years as an emergency medical technical in Washington state. He is a mentoring medic, training many of the department’s current paramedics.

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