A select group of Kerr County first responders was honored by a local nonprofit that has been raising tens of thousands of dollars to make sure local police, medics and firefighters are among the best trained in the state.

Rotary Club of Kerrville, which awarded $13,000 in training funds to local emergency services agencies last year, held its annual First Responder Recognition Ceremony on Wednesday afternoon. The ceremony was attended by Rotarians and elected officials bearing various titles, including those of county judge, county commissioner, district attorney, district judge, mayor, city council member and more.

Among honorees was William Thomas “Tommy” Hall, a retired Kerr County Sheriff’s Office sergeant who received the Public Safety “Service Above Self” Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Hall, born and raised in Kerrville, served in various law enforcement agencies for 46 years and 10 months, with most of it being in Kerr County. Previous coverage of Tommy Hall can be found at bit.ly/3bgq6ZB.

Kerr County Sheriff W.R. “Rusty” Hierholzer also recognized the Hall Family in general for contributing multiple law enforcement officers who contributed almost 70 years of combined service. Tommy Hall’s father was a constable and his grandfather served as sheriff.

Hall’s wife, Debbie Hall, with whom he’ll be celebrating 50 years of marriage, was on hand to see her husband accept the award from Hierholzer.

“I truly want to thank Tommy and Debbie for what you’ve given to this community and what you’ve done for the sheriff’s office,” Hierholzer said.

Hall is now a local rancher — another family tradition, as the Halls have ranched for over a century, Hierholzer indicated.

Another first responder honored Wednesday was

Zane Zenner, who received the Kerrville Fire Department Officer of the Year award. Zenner, a lieutenant with the Kerrville Fire Department, is notable for being willing to stay on scene after an emergency call to comfort residents who just went through traumatic experiences, or to help clean up unpleasant scenes of tragedy, according to KFD Chief Dannie Smith. 

Smith called Zenner one of the hardest working members of the department and said he’s someone who never views a task as below him and never lets a colleague work alone.

“He is not only a supervisor, but truly a leader,” quoted Smith, who read off remarks about the awardees by fellow firefighters. 

Another colleague of Zenner’s said he’s always one of the first to reach out to a fellow firefighter in need, Smith said.

Kerr County Commissioner Tom Moser handed out the award for Kerr County Volunteer First Responder of the Year to Misty Gordon, a KFD paramedic. 

Misty Gordon, who is married to Turtle Creek Volunteer Fire Department Chief Wesley Gordon, has for almost 20 years committed herself to multiple first responder roles in the county, whether it’s working for KFD, volunteering for Turtle Creek VFD and Ingram VFD, conducting meetings to strengthen local agencies, or instructing local people in the “stop the bleed” method, indicated Moser. Stop the bleed is used by teachers and others to deal with the aftermath of school shootings and other catastrophic events.

“She has re-energized the Kerr County First Responder Program by obtaining a Texas Department of State Health Services certification,” Moser said.

Other recipients of Rotary first responder awards included:

  • Texas Department of Public Safety, Trooper of the Year — Cpl. James Salaz
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Game Warden of the Year — Ryan McGinley
  • Kerr County Sheriff’s Office, Corrections Officer of the Year — Cpl. Jonathan Correa
  • Kerrville Police Department, Kerrville Police Officer of the Year — Jaron Ince
  • Ingram Police Department, Ingram Police Officer of the Year — Emilio Ledesma
  • Kerrville Fire Department, EMS Person of Year — Daniel Jordan
  • Kerrville Fire Department, Firefighter of the Year — Lane Rhea
  • Kerr County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Sheriff of Year — Captain Scott Prout. 
Editor's note: Article edited to add more responder awardees

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