American Legion Post 29 recognized Jonathan Wright and Jesse Massey as the Firefighter and Police Officer of the Year, respectively, Tuesday night during the City of Lenoir City Council meeting.
Wright started working for the City in January 2003 as a Firefighter. He was promoted to Firefighter 2 in 2005 and received his Driver/Operator certification in 2008. Two years later, Wright achieved certification as a Fire Instructor, and in 2012 he received his Fire Officer certification. In 2015, Wright received the Fire and Life Safety Educator certification, and he was promoted to Lieutenant. Last year, Wright was promoted to Captain.
“Our department selected Captain Jonathan Wright for the American Legion Firefighter of the Year because not only is he a well-rounded Firefighter and Officer, but he is a well-rounded person," Fire Chief Ken Hair said. "He is highly respected in our department and has earned this recognition because he gives his all as a Firefighter and is simply a great leader and role model for our staff."
Capt. Wright uses his skills in carpentry and HVAC repair to help the Fire Department and City save money. He has repaired the Fire Department's HVAC systems several times, which saved thousands of tax payer dollars. He also contracts with Caldwell Community College to help train new firefighters. Wright works with the Lenoir Housing Authority to manage their HVACs, and he serves as a coach for Collettsville Optimist Club.
"Capt. Wright is well-deserving of this award because of his commitment to the Lenoir Fire Department during his 18 years of service and his commitment to the community," Chief Hair said.
Officer Jesse Massey was hired in July 2019 and started working as a Patrol Officer in January 2020. In December, she was promoted to Police Officer 2. Prior to coming to the City of Lenoir, Officer Massey served in the United States Coast Guard from 2005 to 2009 and worked in the private sector.
Police Chief Brent Phelps said that during her relatively short time with the City, Massey has demonstrated commitment and eagerness to serve. Those qualities and her achievements thus far made her stand out this year, Chief Phelps said.
"Officer Massey has already been identified as leader in the Police Department," Chief Phelps said. "She has completed Field Training Officer school and is already serving as a Field Training Officer for the Patrol Division, less than two years after completing B.L.E.T herself."
Officer Massey has also completed the Police Law Institute course and obtained her Intoxilizer certification.
"In talking to her supervisors, they said, 'I wish I had 10 more officers like her' and 'she is very dedicated, always completes her tasks, is an extremely hard worker, and never hesitates to come in when we need her.'"
"On top of all that, Officer Massey is a proud mother of two, and she works to balance being a mother and serving the community. She is definitely a role model, and we expect to see Officer Massey accomplish great things in her career," Chief Phelps said.
American Legion Post 29 recognized Jonathan Wright as Firefighter of the Year and Jesse Massey Police Officer of the Year Tuesday night, Aug. 17, 2021, during the City Council meeting. Pictured from left: Councilman Ben Willis, Fire Chief Ken Hair, Capt. Wright's wife Sherri and children Kymberlin, Jaxon, and Braelyn (by height and age of children), Councilwoman Crissy Thomas, Wright, Mayor Joe Gibbons, Officer Massey, Councilmen David Stevens and Ike Perkins, Police Chief Brent Phelps, Councilman Jonathan Beal, and Police Lieutenant Brett Ingram.
The Firefighter of the Year award reads, " 2021 City of Lenoir Firefighter of the Year Cpt. Jonathan Wright American Legion Post 29."
The Police Office of the year award reads, "2021 City of Lenoir Police Officer of the Year Jesse Massey American Legion Post 29."