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15th Annual Respect for Law and Fire Awards

15th Annual Respect for Law and Fire Awards

On Thursday, May 19, the Optimist Club of Santa Clara held its 15th Annual Respect for Law and Fire Award ceremony. Recognized at the event were Police Officer, Jake Thompson, Reserve Police Officer, Jack Mastilock, Firefighter Zach McGhie, Volunteer Reserve Firefighter, Gail Carter, and Communications Operations Manager, John Mills.

Each recipient was selected by their respective chief – either Santa Clara Fire Chief, Phil Kleinheinz, or Acting Santa Clara Police Chief, Kevin Kyle.


Police Officer Jake Thompson

Jake Thompson began his law enforcement career in February 2001 as a Correctional Officer for the Santa Cruz County Sherriff’s Office. In April 2008, he became a Santa Clara Police Officer and has since distinguished himself as a hard working, smart, veteran officer.

Reserve Police Officer Jack Mastilock

Jack Mastilock has proudly served as a Reserve Police Officer for almost 39 years. He was hired by former Police Chief Manny Ferguson in October 1972.

Firefighter Zach McGhie

Zach McGhie joined the Volunteer Reserve Division of the Santa Clara Fire Department as a Firefighter in 1998 and was hired as a paid firefighter by the City on October 5, 2001.

Volunteer Reserve Firefighter Gail Carter

Gail Carter joined the Volunteer Reserve Division of the Santa Clara Fire Department as a firefighter on March 5, 2008. Last year he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and is assigned to the Hook and Ladder Company. In the past three years as a member of the Volunteer Reserve Division, Gail has continuously demonstrated a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, a high degree of integrity and a dedication and commitment to the Santa Clara Fire Department. Chief Wiedemann has commented on many different examples where Carter demonstrated strong and positive leadership skills to the other members of the Volunteer Division.

On the morning of June 20, 2010, Firefighter Carter was completing some errands when he noticed a group of adults screaming for help for a 2-year old child who was turning blue, not breathing and in the arms of his mother. Gail quickly determined the child was choking and provided multiple Heimlich maneuvers until he was successful and the child gasped for air, began to forcefully cry and his skin pinked up; all of which are extremely good signs. The Fire Department Paramedics arrived on scene shortly afterwards and credit Firefighter Carter with saving the life of this child.

Communications Operations Manager John Mills

John Mills has served the City of Santa Clara for the last thirty-two years in the Dispatch Division of the Police Department. May 30th will be his 33-year anniversary. John began his career as a Communications Dispatcher and worked his way through the ranks to become Operations Manager twenty-one years ago.

Bob Gundrum, on behalf of the Fire Associates of Santa Clara Valley

Bob is a charter member of this fire support organization. In 1969, a group of local fire buffs formed an organization to provide food and rehab services to firefighters at emergency scenes. These members had an understanding and appreciation for the work that firefighters perform and started their organization in order to help at emergency scenes.


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