The Duncan Banner
Duncan’s community is full of individuals who have or do put their lives on the line each day and the annual Heroes Luncheon honors them.
More than 100 people came to the event Wednesday, which marked the 12th year since 9/11. Hosted by the Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the luncheon recognizes active and retired veterans, police, fire and sheriff departments and emergency medical responders.
“These people have a calling, a passion (for serving the community,” said Chris Deal, president of the Chamber.
Representatives from the Duncan Police Department and the Duncan Fire Department accepted plaques given by the Chamber as a thank you for all they do for the community. The Stephens County Sheriff’s Office was also recognized.
The police department recognized one of their own as an outstanding member of their force. Captain Jay Evans presented Detective John Byers, part of the Criminal Investigation Division, with a plaque of recognition.
Byers joined the DPD in 1998 and moved into the CID in 2006. A native of Comanche, Byers is also a veteran of the Gulf War. As lead investigator, he has witnessed several horrific crime scenes, which Evans said can weigh heavy on an individual.
“John is an outstanding investigator and a cornerstone of the investigative unit,” said Evans. “(Individual words) I’d use to describe him are dedicated, initiative, integrity and, most importantly, friend.”
Keynote speaker for the event was Brigadier General Gregory Ferguson, assistant adjutant general and commander for the Oklahoma Air National Guard. He shared what the role of the National Guard is and gave his thanks to the veterans in attendance.
“We’re there to help,” said Ferguson.
“I can’t say enough about you (veterans) or thank you enough because you built this nation we’ve inherited. We get to do what we do today because of you.”
Lt. Rick Lang with the DPD sang the National Anthem to begin the luncheon. As scenes from the devastation on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York played on screen, members of the Stephens County Worship Center Praise Band played Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning.”
Russ Stewart finished the event by performing “God Bless the U.S.A.”