County honors employees for years of service

OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee County employees who reached milestones in employment were honored July 25 at the Okeechobee County Commission meeting in the Historic Okeechobee County Courthouse.

Lake Okeechobee News/Katrina Elsken
At its July 25 meeting, the Okeechobee County Commission honored employees for their years of service. Left to right are Commission Chairman Terry Burroughs, Todd Cunningham, James Chambers, Robert Farmer, Jose Garcia, Carrie Muldoon, Betty Simmons, Cynthia Howell and County Administrator Robbie Chartier.

• Cynthia Howell was honored for 15 years of service as a van driver with Veterans Services. Mrs. Howell was born in Salem, Ohio, where she attended Salem Senior High School. She relocated to Okeechobee in 1974. She came to the Okeechobee County Veteran Service department in May 2004. She has received Special Recognition Awards through the Department of Veterans Affairs such as Outstanding Merit and 15,000-hour Exceptional Honor Medallion. To-date, she has earned a total of 17,624 hours of volunteer service to veterans.

• James Chambers was honored for five years’ service with Okeechobee County Fire/Rescue as a firefighter/medic. Mr. Chambers was born in Louisville, Ky. His family relocated to Okeechobee when he was 2 years old. He attended Okeechobee High School, followed by IRSC to obtain his firefighter and paramedic certifications. He came to Okeechobee County Fire Rescue in June 2014.

• Todd Cunningham was honored for five years’ service as an equipment operator with the Road Maintenance Department. Mr. Cunningham was born in Fort Pierce and moved to Okeechobee in 2002. He came to the Okeechobee County Road Maintenance Department in June 2014. He works as an equipment operator. Since his employment, he has completed the Florida Department of Transportation Approved Temporary Traffic Control (TTC) Basic Course.

• Robert Farmer was honored for five years service as a firefighter/medic with Okeechobee County Fire/Rescue. Mr. Farmer was born in Pasadena, Calif. He attended Dwyer High School in Palm Beach followed by Paramedic School at Cape Fear Community College (CFCC). He came to Okeechobee County Fire Rescue in June 2014. He is a member of the Technical Rescue Team (TRT). He has 10 years in the Fire Service, five with Okeechobee County and five with Marion County.

• Jose Garcia was honored for five years’ service as an equipment operator/driver with the Road Maintenance Department. Mr. Garcia is an Okeechobee native. He attended Okeechobee High School. He came to the Okeechobee County Road Maintenance Department in June 2014. He works as an equipment operator/driver. Since his employment, he has completed training in Rural County Operations Safety and Florida Department of Transportation Approved Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) Basic Course.

• Jamie Gwitt as honored for five years’ service as a driver/engineer with Okeechobee County Fire/Rescue. Mr. Gwitt was born in Utica, N.Y. He attended Martin County High School in Stuart followed by Indian River State College to obtain his firefighter, EMT and paramedic certifications. He came to Okeechobee County Fire Rescue in June 2014. He began his employment as a firefighter/medic, and was promoted to driver/engineer in September 2018. He is also a member of the TRT.

• Carrie Muldoon was honored for five years’ service as a 4-H program assistant with the Okeechobee County Extension Office. Mrs. Muldoon was born in western Kentucky. Her family moved to South Florida in 1986, then to Okeechobee in 2004. She attended Davies County High School in Owensboro, Ky. She came to the Okeechobee County Extension Office as a part-time office assistant, quickly moving into her full-time position as the 4-H program assistant. She is a certified instructor for 4-H Shotgun and Rifle, as well as an Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hunter safety instructor, range safety officer and freshwater fishing instructor.

• Betty Simmons was honored for five years’ service as a case manager with Okeechobee Senior Services. Ms. Simmons is an Okeechobee native. She attended Okeechobee High School. She also attended Florida Atlantic University, earning a bachelor’s degree in public management with a major in public management, magna cum laude. She worked for 35 years as an insurance agent for a local insurance agency before coming to the Okeechobee County Senior Services in June 2014.

Publisher/Editor Katrina Elsken can be reached at kelsken@newszap.com

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