2017 Team Member of the Month Archives
Sergeant David Echternach, Missouri State Highway Patrol, has been selected as the January, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Sgt. Echternacht was chosen as the Employee of the Month because of his actions as the responding officer to a boating accident that occurred at the Shoot Out Boat Race at the Lake of the Ozarks in August, 2016. A driver participating in the Shoot Out lost control of his vessel, which was projected to be going approximately 109 miles per hour. The vessel went airborne, violently impacted the water, and ejected the driver into the lake. The vessel sank 30 seconds after impact and Sgt. Echternacht made contact with the victim within 36 seconds. Sgt. Echternacht’s quick thinking and efforts undoubtedly saved the victim’s life.
Trooper Gary Gundy, Missouri State Highway Patrol, has been selected as the February, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Tpr. Gundy was chosen as the Employee of the Month for his demonstrated investigative skills with a Boone County case that resulted in the recovery of approximately $1,050,000 of stolen equipment and goods discovered in a vehicle from a robbery that occurred in San Francisco, California. Tpr. Gundy was able to retrieve several clothing items from the vehicle of the apprehended suspects. In reviewing the surveillance video of the robbery from the California company, these same clothing items were worn during the crime and in turn strengthened the Tpr. Gundy’s case in Boone County.
Trooper Jeremy D. Sanders, Missouri State Highway Patrol, has been selected as the March 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Trooper Sanders was chosen as the Employee of the Month for his dedication to enforcing Missouri’s traffic laws and pursuing every lead. In November 2016, Trooper Sanders was patrolling U.S. 67 in St. Francois County, when he noticed an SUV traveling with two different license plates on the front and back of the vehicle. Once he initiated a vehicle stop, the SUV fled, eventually crashing. The occupants fled on foot into some woods. One suspect was quickly captured by local officers. While searching the crashed SUV, the body of a man was discovered in the cargo area. An investigation determined the victim was the owner of the SUV. A couple of hours later Trooper Sanders heard radio traffic indicating the second suspect had just been seen near the crash location. Trooper Sanders immediately drove to the scene and took the suspect into custody without incident. Trooper Sanders exemplified the Patrol’s commitment to serving the public and his dedication while on traffic patrol led to the discovery of a murder victim and charges being filed in the case.
Rebecca "Becky" Cantrell, Nursing Assistant II within the Missouri Veterans Commission, has been selected as the April, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Becky was chosen as the Employee of the Month for always going above and beyond in providing excellent care to our American Heroes, while also serving as an excellent mentor to new employees. Staff have reported that Becky’s kind heart, contagious laugh and sweet smile make her a joy to work with. Through those attributes and her cheerful and hardworking disposition, Becky earns the respect of everyone, including the Veterans to whom she provides such amazing care.
*Named Missouri State Employee of the Month for May 2017
Tabitha Perkins, Electronic Gaming Device Specialist I within the Missouri Gaming Commission, has been selected as the May, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Tabitha was chosen as the Employee of the Month for her devotion in conducting a highly complex investigation, all while still performing her extensive day-to-day responsibilities. Tabitha’s thorough investigation resulted in a review of over 13,000 emails and multiple interviews with individuals both internal and external to the casino. Tabitha’s investigation was critical to the Missouri Gaming Commission’s regulatory efforts.
Trooper Robert North, Missouri State Highway Patrol - Troop C, has been selected as the June, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Trooper North was chosen as the Employee of the Month for his involvement with a case that demonstrated his continued initiative and self-motivation in removing illegal narcotics from society. Tpr. North arrived at the scene of a motor vehicle crash to find EMS personnel treating a male driver for a drug overdose. Due to Tpr. North’s initiative to investigate further, multiple police agencies, including a few from Illinois, solved burglaries and pending criminal cases in their jurisdictions. A consensual search of the driver’s residence led to the seizure of over 100 wholesale prescription pill bottles containing 13,358 pills, numerous syringes, smoking pipes, and a bag of marijuana. Tpr. North assisted in determining that the wholesale prescription pill bottles were linked to a recent pharmacy burglary in De Soto, MO. While searching the residence, several components of automated teller machines were located. They were later linked to several recent ATM machine thefts in the surrounding area. The driver and his wife confessed to multiple crimes.
*Named Missouri State Employee of the Month for July 2017
Rebecca Trapani, Deputy Chief - Training & Certification Program within the Division of Fire Safety, has been selected as the July, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. One of the many roles the Division of Fire Safety is statutorily mandated to administer is a training and state certification program for Missouri’s fire service and emergency first responder personnel. Rebecca was nominated for her outstanding leadership abilities in keeping the program running smoothly despite losing two key employees. She boosted morale and created a better working environment and always encouraged her employees to hang in there and do their best to get the job done. Rebecca’s top priority is dedication to Missouri’s fire service, the Division and the Department.
Sergeant Kurt Merseal and Corporal Bryan Silverthorn, Missouri State Highway Patrol – Troop I, have been selected as the August, 2017 Employees of the Month for the Department of Public Safety for their actions in rescuing individuals captured by the unprecedented amount of rainfall which occurred in Missouri late April, 2017. On April 30, 2017, Sgt. Merseal and Cpl. Silverthorn responded to the Meramec River near Bird’s Nest Lodge after a report of an adult and two juveniles in the water and clinging to trees. Due to their location, it was impossible to reach the three victims by boat. Thus, Sgt. Merseal and Cpl. Silverthorn relied on their rescue swimming training. The troopers entered the swift water, which was littered with floating debris. They swam a rope and lifejackets to the victims, then shuttled the victims to safety.
*Named Missouri State Employees of the Month for September 2017
John Simpson, Veterans Service Officer within the Missouri Veterans Commission, has been selected as the September, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. John was chosen as the Employee of the Month because of his strong drive in obtaining all of the benefits his clients are legally entitled to and in the seriousness in which he takes his position to ensure that is accomplished for them. Veterans and their family members have communicated to the Commission what an asset John is to the community. John also went above and beyond in finding the family of a POW/MIA when a citizen brought a POW/MIA bracelet to his office. John researched and found the living family members whose service member’s name was inscribed on the bracelet.
Democrito Saberon, Custodial Worker I for the Missouri Veterans Commission, has been selected as the October 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Democrito was chosen as the Employee of the Month because of his infectious, positive personality that has won over every Veteran, co-worker & visitor at the St. James Veterans Home. An example that highlights Democrito’s infectious personality involved a Veteran who seldom interacted with others and routinely preferred to not participate in routine care. Yet, the Veterans enjoyed visiting and interacting with Democrito. Once the connection between Democrito and the Veteran was recognized and shared by staff, the Veteran’s overall care improved immensely, as staff were able to use this personal relationship between Democrito and the Veteran to foster the care given to the Veteran. It appeared that everything that Democrito suggested or recommended to the Veteran, the Veteran accounted as a good idea. Democrito understands his job description and qualification limits, meanwhile, offers to assist with communication, encouragement and, obviously, his routinely expected job responsibilities.
*Named Missouri State Employee of the Month for November 2017
Adam Crouch, Fire Investigator within the Division of Fire Safety, has been selected as the November, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Adam was chosen as the Employee of the Month for his outstanding investigative work and commitment to his community. When Adam is called to a fire scene he goes above and beyond his ability to ensure the work is complete and is committed in finding the suspect(s) relating to the case. Adam is always willing to assist other agencies any way he possibly can. This summer, Adam was instrumental in getting medical crews to assist a person on the river in need of medical attention.
In Adam’s spare time, he helps organize an event between the police officers and firefighters to raise money that benefits the YMCA Back Pack Buddies Program which helps fund the lunch program for school children. Adam lives in Chillicothe with his wife, Lora, and their three children.
*Named Missouri State Employee of the Month for December 2017
Sergeant Brandon White, Missouri State Highway Patrol, has been selected as the December, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Sgt. White, an experienced SWAT officer and firearms/tactics instructor, was chosen for his innovative approach to training during the Firearms Stress Combat course. Rather than the traditional practice of officers using the “V” of the driver side door as cover, Sgt. White stressed tactical movement, cover, and concealment. This method saved the life of a trooper who applied the training on March 6, 2017, when he was fired upon after a vehicle pursuit.