Ramsey County Sheriff holds award ceremony

Solomon Gustavo photo • Ramsey County Sheriff Jack Serier adorns deputy Long Yang with the Lifesaving Award medal next to fellow award-winning correctional officer Alex Grundhofer. Yang and Grundhofer were honored for rescuing the life of an inmate who was attempting suicide.

Solomon Gustavo photo • Hats off — sheriff’s deputies, some seated together, others with family or friends, had a meal of chicken and rice and watched their Ramsey County Sherriff’s Office colleagues recognized at the sheriff’s annual Employee Recognition Ceremony at North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills on Feb. 21.

For their work serving the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office employees are treated to the offices Employee Recognition Ceremony each year. This year’s event was held at North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills Feb. 21 during the lunch hour.

After a meal of chicken and rice, employees from each division of the sheriff’s office watched colleagues honored for exemplary service. 

“They are willing to lay down their life for you, and they don’t know your name,” said Ramsey County Sheriff Jack Serier, who hosted the ceremony. “It’s a really humbling thing to be part of this organization.”

Such an example was when correctional officers Marko Komendant and Alex Grundhofer and deputy Long Yang came across an inmate attempting suicide while in custody with the county. The three found the inmate dangling by a blanket tied around his neck and rushed to bring him down. For saving the inmate’s life, the three received the Lifesaving Award. 

“It’s truly an honor,” said Grundhofer of receiving the award. “For being only 18 years old, its a lot,” he said of the experience. He started on the force in October. 

Said Yang, “We just had a job to do.”

The Class B medal of Merit was awarded to Deputy Mike Casey and acting Sgt. Don Rindal. 

Community affairs officer Bob Fischer was named 2017 Volunteer of the Year. Civilian of the Year went to administrator Bob Azure, Investigator of the Year to deputy Jessica O’Hern, Correctional Officer of the Year to correctional Lt. Mike T. Johnson and Deputy of the Year to deputy Andre Rongitsch. 

The entire training, background and recruitment unit received a citation of outstanding work for its role in welcoming more than 100 new employees to the organization. The group included Cmdr. Mike Hankee, Sgt. Suwana Kirkland, deputy Geoff Chang, deputy Neil Iverson, Gloria Acosta, Nate Krause, Sgt. Phil Baebenroth, correctional Lt. Mike T. Johnson, deputy Nick Hanson, deputy Brian Luna and correctional Sgt. Brian Dorsey. 

“They worked their butts off,” said Hankee.


—Solomon Gustavo

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