FOP honors officers, members, friends at first awards banquet

Jeff Parsons of the Alcoa Police Department receives the award as the Ron Dunn Officer of the Year from the Fraternal Order of Police Bud Allison Memorial Lodge #9 new president Laramy Gregory at the FOP’s first awards banquet Thursday evening.

Photo by Sherri Gardner Howell

Jeff Parsons of the Alcoa Police Department receives the award as the Ron Dunn Officer of the Year from the Fraternal Order of Police Bud Allison Memorial Lodge #9 new president Laramy Gregory at the FOP’s first awards banquet Thursday evening.

An Alcoa police officer and a Blount County deputy were honored as Officer of the Year and Member of the Year Thursday evening during a night that was filled with praise and accolades for those who serve and assist the Fraternal Order of Police Bud Allison Memorial Lodge #9.

Officer Jeff Parsons with Alcoa Police Department was named Officer of the Year, and Marian O’Briant, Blount County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, was awarded Member of the Year.

As this was the first year for the awards, the lodge also named the awards in honor of two in law enforcement they said embodied the spirit of the awards. The Officer of the Year award was named in honor of Blount County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Ron Dunn, and the Member of the Year award was named in honor of Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp.

Incoming lodge president Laramy Gregory said Parsons was nominated by Sgt. Keith Fletcher, who wrote of Parsons’ consistent service to residents in Alcoa and for taking time to do extra programs for the public. Parsons thanked the FOP and his family. “I’m very honored and I appreciate being nominated,” he said. “I want to thank my wife, Beth. You can’t be a good police officer without a good wife at home.”

In honoring O’Briant, outgoing lodge president Brett Hall said, “It is not just for her duties that she is receiving this. It is because of her compassion for others. She is a very dependable person and she does so much.”

O’Briant said she was honored to receive the award and said she enjoys working with the lodge. “To be given an award named after Chief Tony Crisp means a lot,” she said. “I have great respect for him.”

Hall said that to be a small lodge, the Bud Allison Memorial Lodge 9 is well respected across the state, in large part due to Crisp’s work in the statewide organization. “We’re fortunate to have Chief Crisp as a leader. Go to a state conference with him,” Hall said. “When he walks into a room, he’s like a rock star,” Hall said.

Crisp thanked Hall and the lodge, and he praised Hall for his work with the Maryville Police Department. “We’re a better organization for having Brett Hall as part of our department. We’re going to miss him,” Crisp said. Hall has taken a position with the U.S. Marshals, and will be leaving Blount County.

Also honored was Steve Stilts and others behind Slimfest, which is a major fundraiser for the FOP’s Shop With a Cop. Shop With a Cop is the lodge’s effort to give deserving, underprivileged children in Blount County the opportunity to shop for gifts for themselves and their families during the Christmas season.

Slimfest, held in August each year, was founded and is organized by Steve and Donna Stilts. Steve Stilts honored those who work each year to make Slimfest a success at the banquet.

“The team he has put together for Slimfest does an awesome job,” Hall said. “To see how much time they put into it is amazing.”

Hall praised Jarrod Millsaps for his time serving with the lodge and its projects like Shop With a Cop.

“He cares about this organization. He makes sure everything is run smoothly. It is an extra event he has to take on , and I’ve got nothing but respect for him,” Hall said of Millsaps. “He is a true leader in the FOP world.”

Hall thanked Gregory for his extra effort and good attitude and said the new president will do a great job. “I haven’t had to do anything by myself as president. I had Laramy Gregory with me, and we’ve accomplished a lot in two years.”

Gregory, in turn, recognized Hall for his hard work. “Brett has been the driving force behind everything we’ve accomplished the past two years. Brett has taken on that role as leader,” Gregory said.

Hall said he has been honored to serve as a police officer for nine years in Maryville, and that those who influenced him in law enforcement helped define who he is. “I’m a better officer, husband and friend because of all of you,” he said.

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