2018 Tulsa Police and Firefighter of the year - Greg Comfort and Craig Deeringwater
The Rotary Club of Tulsa held it’s 11th annual Above and Beyond Awards honoring Tulsa’s firefighter and police office of the year.
The awards acknowledge these public servants for outstanding acts of character, commitment and compassion to both their profession and community. The recipients have gone “Above and Beyond” the requirements of duty and exemplify the Rotary Four-Way Test (one of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics.) Each department provided award nominations and recipients were selected by the Above and Beyond Awards committee of the Rotary Club of Tulsa.
For the third time, the award for the firefighter of the year has been named after former Tulsa Fire Chief E. Stanley Hawkins, who died at the age of 92 in 2013. He served the department for 37 years, 21 of those years as chief. Chief Hawkins was also a former president of the Oklahoma State Firefighters Association, president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and a past president of the Rotary Club of Tulsa.
The Firefighter of the Year award went to Craig Deeringwater. Deeringwater has served as a firefighter for the Tulsa Fire Department for over 18 years. While his initial career choice was to become a graphic designer, close to graduation from OSU Tech he realized he didn’t want to be restricted to an office environment. Following a conversation with his mother, he enrolled in the TCC Fire and Emergency Medical Services program. His graphic design skills are still used, however, for designing station logos, t-shirts for fundraisers, and painting murals in the training center.
As a medic with the department for over 10yrs, he always puts patients first and follows up on his days off. He noticed the needs of several teenagers that are regulars around the station and has contributed school supplies, uniforms, and even loaned our his daughters’ prom dresses to teens who weren’t planning to attend their prom due to not being able to afford dresses.
The Police Officer of the Year award went to Greg Comfort. Officer Comfort has served in the Tulsa Police Department for 32yrs and currently works at the Riverside Station. Coming from a law enforcement family, he always knew a badge was in his future. He first joined the Army and did tours of duty in Desert Storm, Desert Shield, in Central America, and Europe. Then in 1992, when he graduated from the police academy, his father pinned him with the badge he wore for almost 23yrs before retiring from the Tulsa Police Department.
Officer Comfort puts on safety programs for children in Tulsa Public Schools. In the last year he has made presentations to over 500 children in eight schools on safety, police careers, discipline issues, creating a tighter community bond with the children and their teachers. He is also a 32nd Degree Mason of the Scottish Rite and has performed at the Akdar Shrine Circus dressed in authentic Cherokee regalia to help raise money for the Shriners Children’s Hospitals.
In addition to a trophy, each recipient received $2,500 donated to their favorite charities. Presenting sponsors for this year’s awards were Tulsa Community Foundation and the Rotary Club of Tulsa Foundation. More information about the awards is available online at tulsarotary.com.