Breakfast honors 'hometown heroes' in Virginia Beach

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by Joe Flanagan, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on September 29, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 29 at 9:00 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Thousands of people enjoyed the 40th Annual Neptune Festival at the Oceanfront this weekend: the music, the vendors, the artwork, the sand sculptures.

Indoors, and away from the crowds on the Boardwalk, people with the festival hosted a breakfast to celebrate hometown heroes: public safety workers, military members, and teachers among them.

Petty Officer Diana Guess, who is stationed on board USS Theodore Roosevelt, received the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

"Actually, I have done community service since I was a lot younger," Guess said, "so I feel like it is very important to keep involved in your community. It makes you appreciate the community that you live in."

Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera served as the event's keynote speaker. His department, made up of more than 800 officers, received a special nod for its work, acknowledging the potential dangers to which officers expose themselves daily.

"They put on bullet proof vests. That's part of their work attire," offered Cervera. "Think about that.  You do a press check to make sure you have a round in the chamber. That is part of your work attire. We have to think about that."

Master Police Officer Melissa Johnston has received 2 Lifesaving Medals. The most recent was for her part in helping to talk a suicidal person off the roof of the Virginia Beach Convention Center August 26.

"Basically, being able to help somebody to get to that point where you really do, for that moment, make a difference in somebody's life. It kind of keeps you going every day," Johnston said.

People at the breakfast also recognized Carrie Grant from Princess Anne High School. Grant is the 2014 Citywide Teacher of the Year, and Region II Teacher of the Year.

"For me to be in a position like I am right now, where I can  give voice to the teachers who devote their lives to these children, that's powerful, and we need to hear those stories," explained Grant.

 

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