DERRY — A group of Derry police officers were honored for their service and heroic actions during the past year, putting their lives on the line to save others.
Five officers — Sgt. James Belanger and officers Melissa Houde, Collin Kennedy, Nathan Lavoie and Nikita Tomnyuk — received community policing awards in a ceremony Oct. 6 at the Derry McDonald’s restaurant on Crystal Avenue.
The awards were given as part of McDonald’s third annual statewide fundraiser to support the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police.
For three hours that day, McDonald’s restaurants across the state had police department officials on hand to greet the public. Officers were also recognized for outstanding service.
Derry officers Houde and Belanger were recognized for their actions during a fire in May, when a woman was trapped inside a home before being taken to safety.
Officers Kennedy, Lavoie and Tomnyuk were honored for their actions during an incident in Derry in April. All three officers were injured but “exhibited exceptional courage and dedication,” according to a statement.
“These are outstanding acts,” said Derry Police Chief Edward Garone, “and in circumstances where they risk their own lives and safety.”
Garone went on to say officers are trained for the worst, but always hope for the best outcomes.
“They put their training to good use,” the chief said.
McDonald’s staff and officials joined Derry police for the awards event including Derry restaurant manager Kristin Coffey, owner Michael Gambino, and area supervisor Francisco Depina.
Depina said, “Thank to the men and women in blue for all they do in the community.”