President Joe Biden has proclaimed May 9 – 15 as National Police Week in America, and locally, the Sunrise Optimist Club and the Noonday Optimist Club observed the week with their annual Respect For Law Banquet held Thursday night at the Sedalia Country Club, 5074 Highway Y, west of Sedalia.

Seven first responders were recognized, as well as Bothwell Regional Health Center for their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Accepting awards in person were Sedalia Police Officer Brett Twenter, Pettis County Deputy Brannon Walker, Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Corey Parrott, Sedalia Firefighter Colby Snapp, Pettis County Firefighter Chris Iuchs, Sedalia-Pettis County EMA Volunteer Paul Withers, and Pettis County Ambulance District EMT Dovetta Burch.

And accepting for Bothwell Regional Health Center was CEO Lori Wightman.

Each award recipient was presented with a plaque and a brief speech by their supervisor.

Noonday Optimist Secretary-Treasurer Jason Myers said the reason for the banquet was to “honor all our first responders, public safety, law enforcement, and this year we added BRHC for health care.”

A total of 50 people attended the event, which did not feature a guest speaker as in previous years. Myers said he wanted to keep the focus on the first responders in our area during the Respect For Law Banquet. Last year's event had to be canceled due to COVID, so Myers said he was eager to host this year's event.

Myers said he wanted “to honor what our first responders do for us every day to keep everybody safe. That was the main focus. They need to be recognized,” Myers said. “I didn't want to miss it two years in a row.”

Another event that didn't happen last year was the ever-popular Optimist Hayride at the Missouri State Fairgrounds, Myers promised that it would definitely take place in 2021.

In the photo: Award recipients seated from left are: Sedalia Police Officer Brett Twenter, Pettis County Firefighter Chris Iuchs, Sedalia Firefighter Colby Snapp, Pettis County Ambulance District EMT Dovetta Burch, Sedalia-Pettis County EMA Volunteer Paul Withers, Pettis County Deputy Brannon Walker, Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Corey Parrott.

Standing from left are: Sedalia Police Chief Matt Wirt, Pettis County Fire Chief Mike Harding, Sedalia Fire Chief Greg Harrell, PCAD Administrator Roy Pennington, Sedalia-Pettis County EMA Director Trisha Rooda, Pettis County Major Tolbert Rowe, MSHP Sgt. Mark DeGraffenreid, Bothwell CFO Steve Davis, Bothwell CFO Steve Davis, Bothwell CEO Lori Wightman, and Dr Phil Fracica, CMO.