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American Legion recognizes emergency workers

Dispatcher of the Year John O'Laughlin speaks during the American Legion Birthday Party March 22. 1 / 3
John Winters, center, was named the 2014 Police Officer of the Year. He's pictured here with Mayor Bill Droste and Police Chief Eric Werner. An investigator with the Rosemount Police Department, Winters helped lead the department through a challenging 2013.2 / 3
Lt. Chad Ganfield was named the 2014 Firefighter of the Year. Fire Chief Rick Schroeder said Ganfield's willingness to take on extra responsibilities made him stand out.3 / 3

In their own way, each of the safety personnel honored Saturday night has done something to impact the community. Whether it’s helping solve high profile crimes, fighting fires or answering calls for help, each has made Rosemount a better place to live.

American Legion Post 65 held its annual birthday party March 22 and in addition to honoring some of their own, the organization celebrated Rosemount top public safety personnel, including investigator John Winters, firefighter Lt. Chad Ganfield and dispatcher John O’Laughlin.

John Winters

Over the course of his two decades with the Rosemount Police Department Winters has worked in a variety of positions. Currently he serves as an investigator and 2013 presented a lot of challenges with some high profile cases and transitions in the department.

A seasoned member of the Rosemount police, Winters helped guide the department through it all and that is why he was selected as the 2014 Police Officer of the Year.

“It always feels good to be recognized but I feel like there are a number of people on our team that could have been honored the same way,” said Winters.

Winters started with the Rosemount Police Department in 1993. He served as a patrol officer for the first 15 years. He then served as the Rosemount High School resource officer two. Several years ago, an investigator position opened up and he decided to take it.

Winters said of all the roles he’s had on the department he’s most enjoyed being an investigator.

“I like the puzzle-solving component of it,” said Winters.

Additionally, Winters said being an investigator includes a lot of variety and allows him the opportunity to work with people from other law enforcement agencies.

Winters was selected by his fellow police officers for the honor.

The city’s press release stated, “He has served with excellence and professionalism in keeping Rosemount a safe community.”

Chad Ganfield

Ganfield has served on the Rosemount Fire Department for 11 years. This past year he was promoted to Lieutenant, became president of the Rosemount Firefighter’s Relief Association and has taken on other duties.

Fire chief Richard Schroeder said Ganfield’s willingness to take on extra duties, like giving tours of the fire station or assisting with projects, made him stand out above the others who were nominated. Because of his hard work, Schroeder said, the members of the department have come to trust Ganfield as a leader.

“The fact that he was chosen by his peers speaks volumes for itself,” said Schroeder.

A third generation firefighter, Ganfield grew up wanting to become a firefighter. Ganfield said he just does what needs to be done but added that he appreciates the acknowledgment.

“Being named the Firefighter of the Year is an honor. I may not act that excited … but I am,” said Ganfield.

Ganfield works as a full-time firefighter at Flint Hills Resources.

John O’Laughlin

DCC executive director Diane Lind said O’Laughlin is a skilled dispatcher who is known for his ability to put details together. She said that skill helps the different safety personnel get people the help they need.

Additionally, Lind said O’Laughlin is good under pressure and at helping people through crisis situations.

“He’s very caring and compassionate. He lets them know that he’s there and he’s getting them the help they need,” said Lind.

In addition, Lind said O’Laughlin is a good co-worker. She said he is always there to help fellow team members and enable everyone to do their job better.

Legion members

As part of the celebration, the American Legion also honored some of its own. Bob Racette was named Legionnaire of the Year and David and Jane Haukom, Dave Scott and Debbie Strese were honored as Volunteers of the Year.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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