In attendance were the Sheriff’s Office’s Col. Milton Beck, Chief Deputy Linda Coker and Sheriff Neil Warren; Cobb Police Capt. Dale Bolenbaugh and Det. David Dunkerton, who each work in Precinct 3 by Cumberland Mall; and Firefighter Troy Smith and fire engineer/paramedic Jay Shaw, who work at Fire Station 5 in Vinings.
Association chair Glenn Christian said the organization has been saluting public safety officials for five years. It does so, he said, to “recognize the contributions of public safety on behalf of the welfare and safety of Vinings.”
“They often do not get the recognition they deserve,” he added.
Representatives of each department said they were pleased to be honored.
“One thing I regret is … with all the men and women of the sheriff’s office, police and fire departments, they’re out there working (in the field) and do not always get to get the recognition (they deserve),” Warren said. “We appreciate and support them. I wish they could be here to see that.”
Bolenbaugh added, “It’s great to be recognized by the people you work for. It’s very important and means a lot. I’m going on three years being back at Precinct 3. The VBA has been great and always good about recognizing us.”
Of the honor, Shaw said, “Actually it felt quite good. It made me feel proud, especially in these times of the budget cuts that we’ve seen in Cobb County, for obvious reasons. To be honored by the business leaders in the community, the fact that they realize what we’re doing out the community, it’s a good feeling.”
In other news, David Connell, president and CEO of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce in Marietta, spoke at the meeting on a variety of business-related topics.
Connell said the Cobb Chamber is the seventh largest Chamber organization in the U.S. and one of only two in Georgia with a five-star rating. He also said the organization has added about 600 new members this year.
“Two years ago, the retention rate for members was 67 percent, which is normal. Now, it’s 85 percent, which is great,” he said.
The chamber leader also stressed the importance of backing Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta.
“We have got to be (more supportive) of Dobbins,” he said. “The economic impact would be huge if it closed. If Dobbins closed, Lockheed (Martin’s plant next door) would have some risk (of closing) because they share a runway.”
Connell said Chamber representatives are going to George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., next week to check out its well-known business incubator program. A similar program could be housed at Kennesaw State University in the future, but Connell did not have a timeline on it yet.
“We’re still in the research phase of that,” he said.