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City salutes employees for extraordinary service

The Hendersonville City Council recognized police officers, firefighters and other city employees for extraordinary service to the public during its regular meeting on Thursday night.

Council member Jeff Miller shared a story that came to him from his wife, Tam, who told him about what had happened at a popular restaurant five weeks ago.

"She came home on the evening of Oct. 1 and she could not say enough nice things about what she had witnessed at Harry & Piggy's," he said. Jim, a veteran who is 90 years old, "was going through an incredibly rough time," Miller said. "He lost his wife, he lost his sister-in-law, who he was very close to. He had come here to pack up his son and move out to Texas. He woke up one morning and went into wake up his son and his son was dead. He was driving his son's Jeep and he was unfamilar with it."

Jim hit the gas instead of the brake and crashed into Piggy's, the ice cream side of the shop. "No one was there, which is really unusual. No one was hurt," Miller said.

Police officers and firefighters raced to the scene. "Everyone treated him with such respect and dignity and sympathy that Tam couldn't stop talking about it. You guys really don't know how much of a difference you made to Jim. He's never quit talking about how good you guys were."

Recognized for the way they responded were firefighter Dakota Ostrander, fire engineer David Corey, Deputy Chief Justin Ward, battalion chief Christian Miller and Lt. Bryan Dunne of the fire department and police officer Josh Fisher.

Four employees were recognized as quarterly MVPs. Here are the citations for each from the city:

  • Police officer Joreeca Dinnall. Responding to a call of damage to property, officers realized a juvenile was experiencing a mental health crisis. The boy was taken to Pardee when officers were unable to make contact with the family. Officer Dinnall, off-duty at the time, was able to contact the mother and alert her to the situation. Following the incident, Officer Dinnall spent a considerable amount of time working with the juvenile and the family to seek the appropriate treatment. The juvenile needed to be transported to Mission Hospital in Asheville but was unwilling to ride with anyone except Officer Dinnall. Officer Dinnall immediately responded in her personal vehicle and not only transported the juvenile to Mission but stayed with him and his family until he was admitted. Officer Dinnall went above and beyond leaving her family to help a family in crisis obtain the care he needed.
  • Jamie McMinn, water and sewer customer service. Following a phone call with a resident wanting to help with a customer’s delinquent water bill due to Covid, Jamie decided that she would also donate to help those less fortunate during this crisis. From this “pay it forward”, other city employees and citizens have contributed over $4,000 to help water customers.
  • Jennifer Musselwhite, finance. Jennifer handled the bulk of the donations that came in and generated the process for applying the funds to random delinquent customers’ water bills. All of this was completed in addition to her regular duties.
  • Terry Martin, fire engineer. Terry Martin has taken ownership to spray a decontamination spray with an SCBA pack throughout the station on a regular basis, in an effort to combat the COVID-19. He does this without prompting, and always happy to do this service which some might see as below his level in the department. He sprays all the rooms in the fire station and the fire trucks. He takes a lot of pride in this activity and always takes it upon himself to complete the task.