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October 13, 2017 – Two City first responders were honored earlier this week at the 2017 Carl and Esther Gerstacker Police and Firefighter of the Year Awards at Midland Country Club. Midland Police Department Officer Mark Stefaniak was named the City’s 2017 Police Officer of the Year, while Midland Fire Department Lieutenant Jim Heading was honored as 2017 Firefighter of the Year.
Officer Stefaniak has served as a police officer with the City of Midland Police Department for eight years, and previously served as a road patrol deputy with the Midland County Sheriff's Office for three years. Since coming to MPD, he has taken on a variety of roles: road patrol officer, a special operations team member (SOT), a rotating detective, and is currently assigned to BAYANET (Bay Area Narcotics Enforcement Team). In addition to his regular job duties, Ofc. Stefaniak also serves as a Use of Force instructor, firearms instructor, Krav Maga instructor, and a Delta College Police Academy Instructor. As a member of the SOT, Ofc. Stefaniak assisted in executing a search warrant for one of the largest heroin seizures in Midland.
Lieutenant Heading is a seventeen-year veteran of the Midland Fire Department. In addition to his shift duties as lieutenant in charge of Fire Station 3, Lt. Heading works off-shift as a public educator, delivering fire safety education programs to kindergarten and first grade classes at area elementary schools. He also serves as a charter member of the “Remembering When” program, which collaborates with staff from Senior Services of Midland County and MidMichigan Health to provide safety programs to senior citizens, covering such topics as cooking safety, general fire safety, and trip hazards. The “Remembering When” program played a role in the City of Midland becoming the first city in Michigan to receive Safe Community Accreditation status from the National Safety Council’s Safe Communities America program.
Awards are funded through and given by the Midland Area Community Foundation. The selection process and awards ceremony is coordinated by the Midland Exchange Club.