June 19, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

Highland Chamber of Commerce Community Awards recognizes top firefighter and police officers in the city

2 min read

Highland Fire Department’s Firefighter of the Year being awarded to Zachary Hunter for his selfless dedication and service to the Highland Community.

The Highland Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual Community Awards and Installation Dinner on January 19th at the Elks Lodge in San Bernardino. 

The top awards of the night recognized Highland Fire Department’s and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ (SMBMI) firefighter of the year, along with Highland Police Department’s police officer of the year. 

Highland Chamber President Gail Shelton, SMBMI Fire Captain, Firefighter of the Year Juan Mota, and Highland Chamber’s Executive Director Chris Nelson at the Elks Lodge on January 19th.

“Our public safety professionals contribute so much to the safety of our community. Highland is truly a better place because of you,” said Chamber President Gail Shelton. 

Highland Fire Department’s Zachary Hunter was honored as the 2022 Firefighter of the Year and the 2022 San Manuel Firefighter of the Year was awarded to Zachary Hunter.  

To round out the public safety professionals, Highland Police Department’s Deputy Charlie Lopez was recognized as the 2022 Police Officer of the Year. 

Another notable award that was presented was the 2022 Citizen of the Year, which was awarded to Mayor Pro Tem Penny Lilburn, who joked, “You know what they say, never give a politician a microphone. We do not stop talking.”

Highland Police Department’s 2022 Police Officer of the Year Deputy Charlie Lopez (center) thanks his wife for her support throughout the years.

She proceeded to thank the 120 person audience and reaffirmed her commitment to serving the City via her seat on the city council and position as executive director with the Highland Senior Center. 

Along with SMBMI’s Business Committee Secretary Audrey Martinez and Assemblymember James Ramos’ Field Representative Anais Franco, was San Bernardino County Supervisor Dawn Rowe. 

Rowe conducted the installation of the Chamber’s new 2023 board of directors, which included IECN’s Manny Sandoval, SMBMI’s Robin Alcantara-Carcano, San Bernardino Symphony Association’s Dr. Anne Viricel, and Redlands Unified School District’s Sara Burton. 

To learn more about the Highland Area Chamber of Commerce, visit highlandchamber.org.


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