June 16, 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Scott Pedowitz
Government Affairs Manager
(703) 525-2400 ext. 205
Event photos can be found here . High-
resolution images available upon request.
Garvey Addresses the State of Arlington County, Local Heroes Honored
ARLINGTON, Va. - This morning, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce held the State of the County & Public Safety Awards, which celebrated Arlington's economic achievements, the community's future, and those who make the area an excellent place to live and work. Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey gave an address highlighting Arlington's economic status. The Chamber then honored public safety personnel and first responders from Arlington County's Police Department , Fire Department , and Sheriff's Office who have exemplified heroic actions and exceptional performance of their duties.
The annual event was held for the first time as a webinar in accordance with social distancing guidance amid the coronavirus pandemic. In place of the traditional breakfast for attendees, catered breakfast was provided to 150 first responders and public safety personnel through the support of event sponsorships and registrations.

Libby Garvey began her State of the County address by saying, "Considering everything, Arlington County is doing pretty well" and that "one of the major reasons is the quality of people in our community, both within and outside of our government." Addressing the response to the coronavirus crisis, Garvey thanked Arlington's businesses, nonprofits, and residents for "stepping up throughout the County to help."
Garvey also discussed engagement with the community over policing policies in the past month. "Our goal should always be to be a model for the nation," said Garvey. "Our police are innovative and they have created approaches in the past that are now used by forward-thinking departments around the country, but innovation never stops. I think we may well want to try different approaches to keeping our community safe that will work better for everyone."

Garvey expressed optimism about the state and direction of Arlington's economy. "While Arlington's corporate community is certainly feeling the impact of COVID-19, we are fortunate to have a diverse economy," Garvey said. "Our fundamentals of talent, location, and transportation are solid, and they will withstand this pandemic. We have a well-educated and a well-connected workforce. This continues to be a great place to live, work, and play."

The response to the coronavirus has also led to innovation in local government, and Garvey said that she wants Arlington County to continue innovating. "The need to move quickly is allowing us to take some steps that we might not have taken before and make us better in the end," Garvey said. "We will continue to work with our business community and look at ways that we can do things in more of a 21st Century way, with more flexibility." Garvey concluded her remarks by saying, "We want to make sure that we use this crisis well and that we come through it stronger, more resilient, and more equitable than we were before."
Following the State of the County address, awards were presented to honor Arlington County's public safety personnel and first responders. Fourteen honorees were recognized for their courageous, and often lifesaving, actions in the line of duty. Leadership of all respective departments submitted nominations for the honorees, based on their performance over the past year. 

These honorees went above and beyond their call of duty to ensure the safety of their community. Meritorious service honorees included a major in the Sheriff's Office who has been their go-to person for information technology throughout her career and a firefighter who has played an integral role in the Fire Department's Camp Heat program for teenagers. A Police Department detective was recognized for investigative persistence leading to the dismantling of a regional drug trafficking organization.

Several Life-Saving Awards were also given for heroic actions that saved a life. Four firefighters were recognized for rescuing a child with a blocked airway, as were two police officers who ran to the rescue of a man suffering from a heart attack. Four police officers were recognized for saving a person in distress, as was a police corporal who risked his own safety to prevent a suspect from self-harm.

The 2020 Public Safety Award honorees are as follows:
Arlington County Office of the Sheriff

Meritorious Service Award
Major Susie Doyel

Arlington County Fire Department
Meritorious Service Award
Firefighter Marcia “Tia” Reed

Life-Saving Award
The Crew of Rescue 109
Captain II Melvin Reed
Firefighter Jamerson Lewis
Firefighter Chad Aldridge
Firefighter Gary Landis

Arlington County Police Department
Meritorious Service Award
Detective Randall Mason
Life-Saving Award
Officer Jason Pardee
Corporal John Vanak
Detective Diane Galiatsos
First Sergeant Steve Taphorn
Corporal Darryl Wilson
Officer Kevin Roman
Corporal Douglas Bennett

A recording of the State of the County and Public Safety Awards program is available on YouTube .
For access to this release and other statements visit .
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Founded in 1924, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit membership organization of approximately 700 businesses committed to strengthening businesses and the economic environment for those who work, live, and do business in Arlington. The Chamber supports our members through networking, advocacy, professional development, and community engagement. For more information or to become a member, visit
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