Awards recognize 3 for ‘Service Above Self’

The three Covington Rotary Club honorees pose with their plaques and dignitaries. From left: Kenton County Commissioner Jon Draud, Covington Fire Chief Mark Pierce, Firefighter Jeff Sanzere, Fire Capt. Joseph Bowman, Covington Rotary Club President Darren Wurz, Police Officer Brian Powers, Lt. Justin Wietholter, and Chief Rob Nader.


COVINGTON, Ky. - Three First Responders from the City of Covington were honored for selfless service today: A police officer who has saved two lives since returning from a horrific injury ... a firefighter whose compassionate but quiet deeds has drawn attention ... and a fire captain who has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the department better.

The awards were announced at a luncheon meeting of the Covington Rotary Club, which periodically honors police officers and firefighters in the City.
“We just wanted to recognize our unsung heroes,” said Rotary member Florence Tandy. “They go about their work day after day, 24/7, and they don’t get enough recognition. We take them for granted. With this, we’re letting them know we appreciate their work.”
The three - Officer Brian Powers, Firefighter Jeff Sanzere, and Capt. Joseph Bowman - received plaques at the ceremony, which was held at the Radisson Hotel Cincinnati Riverfront in Covington.
Their commanding officers attended.
Here are details explaining why the three were honored:
Police Officer Brian Powers was injured while arresting a suspect on Christmas Eve 2017 and missed 11 weeks due to the effects of traumatic brain injury, according to his nomination.
During that time, however, he kept a positive attitude and demonstrated a fierce determination to return to work. Since his return, he has talked at least two people out of committing suicide, has been a leader on his shift, and has been made a training officer for new recruits.
“Officer Powers overcame a tremendous amount of adversity to return and continue doing what he loves,” the nomination said. “Not only has he returned, he has continued to exemplify the four core values of the Covington Police Department, which are Compassion, Justice, Integrity, and Professionalism.”
Firefighter Jeff Sanzere’s nomination described an occasion when he had taken a homeless woman to the hospital for medical treatment. While there, he discovered that she hadn’t eaten in a while and that she was feeling despondent. So he prayed with her in the hospital and gave her the lunch he had bought for himself just before the emergency run.
“This act was noticed by the staff at the hospital, and they sent us a quick email about (his) selfless actions,” the nomination reported. “Jeff Sanzere on multiple occasions puts people and patients first, beyond what we would expect.”
Fire Department Captain Joseph Bowman “goes above and beyond whenever the need arises,” his nomination read, citing numerous examples of how his hard work behind the scenes helps the department do its job of keeping Covington residents safe.
It said Capt. Bowman had been instrumental in reorganizing the department’s data retention drive, reformatted its standard operating procedures, helped lead the daily physical training during the last two recruit classes and “is always first to volunteer when help is needed.” 
The Covington Rotary Club has been in existence since the 1920s, Tandy said, and meets weekly.
“The motto of the Covington Rotary Club is ‘Service Above Self,’ and these awards are one way we call attention to people who put that into action,” she said.
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