Four Clark County first responders honored with ‘Service Above Self’ Rotary award

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Four Clark County first responders were recognized this week by the Springfield Rotary Club for the “Service Above Self” Award.

The Safety Forces Day was held Monday, where Rotary Club members honored Springfield Police Division Sgt. Derek Smith, Springfield Fire Rescue Division Asst. Chief Brian Leciejewski, Clark County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Megan Forrest, and Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Bradley Baker for their service to the community.

“It’s selflessness and community spirit that’s embodied in the Service Above Self award,” Leciejewski, who hosted the event, said. “Established to honor those who exemplify our Rotary’s guiding principle of service above self ... this award has evolved into a symbol of excellence, recognizing individuals who have demonstrated exceptional dedication, compassion and leadership to serving others.”

Leciejewski said the recipients of this award demonstrate commitment, passion, compassion and generosity to their communities.

“These individuals have shown us the true meaning of service. These Clark County first responders’ contributions extend far beyond the tangible outcome they achieve. They have inspired others to join their cause, creating a rippling effect of kindness and goodwill throughout the community,” he said.

A lieutenant with the Springfield Police Division recognized Smith, who took over the position of traffic sergeant.

“After moving into the position full-time, he continued to work tirelessly to educate himself on the ins and outs of what is a very demanding, often overlooked and underappreciated, position,” the lieutenant said. “Smith has also shown that he’s willing to lead from the front, and (follows) don’t ask your people to do anything that you were not willing to do yourself.”

Smith thanked his wife, family and several others for being honored.

“I’ve genuinely enjoyed being a police officer over the years … it’s been quite the journey,” he said.

Springfield Fire Rescue Division Chief Jacob King spoke about Leciejewski, who is “leading us in the areas of safety, well-being and education to our community.”

King said Leciejewski has done many things in the division, including securing retention funding, behavioral mental health services, established a contract with Kettering Hospital Services, paramedic program, records management system, integrated social media, outreach programs and community involvement.

“His tireless efforts in contributions had a profound impact on the fire division and in our capabilities and in our ability to serve our community,” King said. “This award is testament to his exceptional service and high standards that he holds with all of his endeavors.”

Leciejewski said he appreciates being nominated for the award, and thanked his wife, family and team.

“We have a great leadership team on the fire department. I actually have a couple members of the leadership team ... they helped me to really do what I do. I couldn’t do it without a great team,” he said.

Major Andy Reynolds from the Clark County Sheriff’s recognized Forrest, who graduated from Stebbins High School in 2015, attended Sinclair Community College for an associate’s degree in criminal justice, gradated in 2019 from the police officer training academy at the Greene County Career Center, and began at the sheriff’s office in 2019. She was initially assigned to the jail division and began working in New Carlisle in 2021, but started as the school resource officer in 2023 in the Northeastern Local School District.

Reynolds said Forrest exemplifies respect, integrity, professionalism, service, teamwork and excellence.

“Since being assigned this position as a school resource officer, Deputy Forrest has poured herself into keeping the mission, vision and values of the sheriff’s office on the forefront. (She has) compassion and stays impartial while enforcing the laws,” Reynolds read about what Forrest’s sergeant wrote. “Your efforts in and around your school do not go unnoticed. Your commitment to your students and the broader community is evident and deeply appreciated.”

A sergeant with the Ohio State Highway Patrol spoke about Baker, who graduated from Triad High School in 2011, was a member of the golf team, professionally raced dirt bikes, worked in the community, and joined the OSHP academy in 2014, then graduated in 2015. He is also active in the community, partnered with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Springfield Police Division and the Wittenberg Police Department to coach a youth basketball league, and donates to the Springfield Soup Kitchen and Springfield veterans.

“He’s continued to grow as a trooper by mentoring new troopers, and he serves the division as a field training officer ... Leading by example and displaying the division core values has propelled Trooper Baker to his prestigious rank,” the sergeant said.

“Baker understands that teamwork is a necessity to reach the divisions goals, which is a natural part of his character. Hard work and dedication are why he gets the job done and is leader of the post. Trooper Baker doesn’t just make an impact on the post but also the community he serves. Whether it’s his attitude, demeanor or work ethic, Trooper baker has a profoundly positive impact on the community as family in the post.”

About the Author