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Annual Law Enforcement Banquet honors those who gave all and those who came to help

The annual Gilchrist County Law Enforcement Awards Banquet honored those who gave all. The banquet was centered around the tragedy of April 19, 2018, when Sergeant Noel Ramirez, Jr. and Deputy Taylor Lindsey were killed. The banquet honored Ramirez and Lindsey’s ultimate sacrifice as well as the appreciation to those who came to serve the citizens of Gilchrist County in the month that followed their deaths.
One of the most poignant moments of the evening was when Sheriff Bobby Schultz presented the Officer of the Year award posthumously to Sergeant Noel Ramirez, Jr. and Deputy Taylor Lindsey. Nan Lindsey accepted her son’s plaque on his behalf. She then shared her memories of a conversation that she and Taylor had in the past about the Officer of the Year award. She said that Taylor hoped to one day receive the Officer of the Year award at the Gilchrist County Law Enforcement Banquet. Ms. Lindsey went on to say she never dreamed that one day she would be accepting it on his behalf. Michael Rome accepted the 2018 Officer of the Year plaque on behalf of the Ramirez family. The plaque read in part “In grateful appreciation for your outstanding, dedicated service and your ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of Gilchrist County.”
The guest speaker of the event was Seminole County Sheriff Dennis M. Lemma. The students of the Gilchrist County Criminal Justice Academy who host the Law Enforcement Banquet each year selected Sheriff Lemma as the guest speaker.
Sheriff Lemma spoke about what it meant to have a career in law enforcement. He also spoke of his deputies lining up at his door saying “Send me, I will go” after they learned of the tragic loss of two officers in Gilchrist County.
Some of the Sheriffs from surrounding counties who helped local Law Enforcement and the citizens of Gilchrist County after April 19, also attended the banquet. Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum, Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods, Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma and Lafayette County Sheriff Brian Lamb all attended the banquet. Sheriff Schultz thanked them for coming to the aid of the citizens of Gilchrist County and the GCSO the weeks after the April tragedy.
Sheriff Schultz and GCSO awarded plaques to Levy County Lt. Scott Tummond, Lt. Brett Rhodenizer of Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Danny Anderson of Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff said these men played a very important role in the days following, handling the public relations and even helping plan the funeral of Sergeant Noel Ramirez, Jr. and Deputy Taylor Lindsey. The funeral was the largest Law Enforcement funeral in the state of Florida’s history.
2018 Retired GCSO employees were recognized by Lt. Clint Anderson. Lt. Michelle Jones and Deputy David Aderholt were among the retired.
Captain Sheryl Brown recognized all the new employees of the sheriff’s office.
Lt. Keagon Weatherford recognized Corrections Deputy Laura Downey, Civil Deputy Gregg Hodge, Chief Deputy Jeff Manning, IT Brent Owens, Corrections and Transportation Deputy Preston Richburg, and Deputy Sheriff Mike Simpson, all honored for five years of service. Dispatcher Mike Austin has ten years of service and Jeannine Pfannschmidt has fifteen years of service with the GCSO.
Deputy Austin Ritchey was awarded the life saving award for performing CPR for 10 minutes until EMS arrived on the scene. This act likely saved the citizen’s life.
One Team, One Mission Award was presented to the Citizens of Gilchrist County by Lt. Scotty Douglas. Lt. Douglas said, “We decided to honor the people of Gilchrist County and surrounding counties because the love and support shown to GCSO in 2018 was beyond belief. It is so rewarding to be part of small town America
where we all have each other’s back in times of need.” The plaque will hang in the Gilchrist County Courthouse. The plaque says, “To the people of Gilchrist County and surrounding counties for the tremendous outpouring of support to the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office and families, during the loss of Sergeant Noel Ramirez, Jr. and Deputy Taylor Lindsey on April 19, 2018. There are no words to convey our heartfelt thanks.”
Chief Deputy Jeff Manning presented the Captain Tony Cruse Service Award to the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office.

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