Daily Journal reporter Kevin Jenkins was named St. Francois County's "2017 Citizen of the Year" at the 27th Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Night held Thursday evening at the Mineral Area Community Elks Lodge in Desloge.
Jenkins' selection was announced by Mineral Area Elks Exalted Ruler and event coordinator Roland Seal, who introduced the honoree, saying, "We always take this opportunity to have our Citizen of the Year award and we tried to direct that award to someone who is in support of law enforcement in St. Francois County — who backs up law enforcement in St. Francois County.
"I mentioned [the late Daily Journal reporter] Leroy Sigman a while ago. Leroy was quite a reporter for the Journal. There is another gentleman in our area that is always a big sponsor of law enforcement and who is a frequent visitor to our annual event.
"We hear a lot today of the evil news media, but I think in St. Francois County we are very fortunate to have the news media that we have. It is with that being said that I would like to honor someone from the news media as our Citizen of the Year.
"He came to us from down in a little area called Arcadia Valley. He was the editor of the Mountain Echo and is now with the Daily Journal and it is no one other than our own Kevin Jenkins."
Following the awards ceremony, Jenkins commented on his selection as Citizen of the Year.
"It is with a sense of honor and humility that I accept this award presented to me by the Mineral Area Community Elks Lodge," he said. "As a reporter, it has been my privilege over the years to meet a number of interesting people and then to share their stories through the written word. I've discovered that no matter who you are, your life is always a story in progress.
"I am especially proud that, along with my fellow reporters, I've had the opportunity to tell the stories of the brave men and women of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, local police and fire departments, as well as the St. Francois County Sheriff's Department, Ambulance District and 911 Communications Center.
"At the Daily Journal we are a team of professional journalists who take seriously our responsibility to accurately inform the public about what's going on in the Parkland. Sometimes we stumble, but the commitment we make to our readership is that our staff will always seek to improve our craft for the betterment of the communities that we serve."
Others honored at the awards banquet included St. Francois County Law Enforcement Officers of the Year. That group included patrolman Jason Boyer, Desloge Police Department; K-9 police officer "Figo," Farmington Police Department; Cpl. Adam Jaco and patrolman Richard Mackley, Bonne Terre Police Department; Detective Sgt. Todd Inserra, Park Hills Police Department; Cpl. Jeremy Brooks, Bismarck Police Department; Cpl. Scott Miller, St. Francois County Sheriff's Department; and Trooper Jeremy D. Sanders, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Troop C;
Also recognized were 911 telecommunicator Matthew Jackson, St. Francois County 911 Communications Officer of the Year; Chris Maxson, St. Francois County Ambulance District Paramedic of the Year; and Ranger Brian Whitfield, Missouri State Park Ranger of the Year.
Special awards were presented to Desloge Police Chief James Bullock by his officers; and Nancy Bezner by the Bonne Terre Police Department.
Guest speaker for the evening was St. Francois County 911 Communications Director Alan Wells who spoke about the renovated and enlarged 911 center, as well as the many local law enforcement personnel and emergency responders who had impacted his life.