Thursday afternoon, a very special group of people were honored at Hamilton's City Hall as the Masonic Lodge #38 hosted their annual "First Responder" Awards. This year, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the usual evening banquet was changed to an afternoon awards ceremony with honorees and their families.

The awards were given to first responders who have exhibited outstanding service to the community from law enforcement, health providers and fire departments. This year's event also included some Montana state awards, and individual local service plaques.

Three Hamilton police officers received the Montana Medal of Honor for their work at an area shooting incident last year. Hamilton Police Chief Ryan Oster presented Bryson Lewis, Josh Scoggins and Michael Eldridge with their honors from the Montana Association of Chiefs of Police.

Sheriff Deputy Jarin Gassett won the Masonic award for the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office. Service awards from Sheriff Steve Holton went to detective Scott Burlingham for 30 years of service, undersheriff Jesse Jessop for 20 years of service, investigator Darcie Zohner for 30 years of service and CCW Clerk Renee Henderson for 15 years of service.

Donna Rennaker received the Masonic Lifetime Achievement Award. The other Masonic First Responder awards went to Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department Captain Tony Sisson, Hamilton police officer Jessica Hayward and Ravalli County Public Health Director Tiffany Webber.

Ionic Lodge #38 is part of the Masonic organizations, which include the Shriners, the Scottish Rite, York rite, Order of Eastern Star, Rainbow Girls, Jobs Daughters and DeMolay for Young Men.

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