The Honolulu Police Department honored a brilliant 25-year career on Wednesday.
Sgt. Duane Samson was named the Officer of the Year at the special breakfast and awards ceremony.
Samson retired on April 1 and said he couldn’t have received the award without help.
“Family is the base of my support. Without my wife watching the kids, my mom helping. All that time away from home and doing the work with the community. They’re the foundation,” Samson said.
It’s unfortunate, but every so often tragedy highlights just how dangerous police work can be.
In July 1995, two HPD officers, Tate Kahakai and Bryant Bayne, were lost in a helicopter crash along with Honolulu Fire Department pilot Peter Crown.
That was Jerome Andrade’s first HPD funeral.
“We’ve helped 10 families killed in the line of duty, but it’s an honor to service them and to be there for them,” Andrade said.
Andrade was a long-time funeral home director, overseeing the services of Chad Morimoto — the last HPD officer killed in the line of duty.
“In fact, even the last widow, Chad Morimoto, every time she sees me, ‘Hi, Mr. Andrade!’ and gives me a big hug. And that is the satisfaction,” Andrade said.
On Wednesday, the police department said thanks to Andrade for all the care he has shown grieving HPD families by awarding him the Citizenship Award.
Andrade says he remembers what was once said to him.
“Something a minister taught me years ago. Make each day count because it’s very important because there may be no tomorrow,” Andrade said
The HPD ohana celebrated Wednesday by honoring top officers.
Speaking of ohana, the HPD Parent of the Year has a daughter and two sons who are active in sports.
“It takes a good strong relationship between both parents in order to get those things done and make the children believe in what you’re trying to accomplish,” HPD Parent of the Year Malo Torres said.
Reserve Officer Christopher Sharrer was also recognized. He volunteers his time to HPD and is a full-time firefighter.
The Civilian Employee of the Year is Emily Ogasawara.
The awards were given by the HPD 200 — businesses and community organizations that support the force.