Gwinnett Gab 8/7/2008

Officer awarded Medal of Valor

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Gwinnett County Department of Corrections recently awarded its first Medal of Valor to Senior Correctional Officer Amiziah Smith III for his life-saving actions following a motor vehicle accident in February.

Smith, a four-year veteran of the Department who is assigned to the Field Operations Unit, was driving a prison work detail bus Feb. 25 along Indian Trail Road near Oakbrook Parkway when he witnessed the accident. One of the cars involved struck a guardrail, returned to the roadway and caught fire.

Smith secured his vehicle and rushed to help the two occupants of the burning car. The driver was able to escape after Smith forced open the driver's door. He also helped the passenger, who was injured and unable to move on her own, by freeing her and carrying her to safety.

With the help of a fellow officer, Smith then used his vehicle's fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

The Medal of Valor is the Department's highest honor. Recipients are required to perform a "conspicuous act of gallantry or heroism while risking life or serious injury above and beyond the call of duty" during "extremely hazardous or dangerous conditions," a news release states.

Smith's supervisor, Lt. Scott Pickens, recommended him for the award, saying, "You immediately addressed security issues with your inmates, rendered assistance without regard for your own safety and continued to work to save the loss of property. ... In my opinion, heroes are few and far between. I'm proud to say that I work with one."

Citizen Corps honors volunteers

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Gwinnett County Citizen Corps recently honored volunteers from the Community Emergency Response Team, Citizens Police Academy, Citizens Fire Academy, Community Oriented Police Service and Medical Reserve Corps.

During the Corps' first Volunteer Recognition Night, volunteers from these organizations, as well as the Red Cross and Amateur Radio Emergency Services, were recognized for their community service.

Sherwin Levinson from the MRC was named the Gwinnett County Volunteer of the Year. He will be considered for the Georgia Volunteer of the Year Award.

Gwinnett residents Dave Adanich and Jan Jubon received the prestigious Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Awards for their hours of service.

Medical student elected to board

SUWANEE - Johnny A. Dias, a fourth-year osteopathic medical student at the Georgia campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee, was recently elected as the student representative to the American Osteopathic Association Board of Trustees.

In addition to his involvement with the AOA, Dias is an active member of the Georgia Osteopathic Medical Association and the American Medical Student Association. He also served as a member of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association Board of Trustees and as vice president of his local SOMA chapter.

Before beginning medical school, he received a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's in public health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dias is currently completing a rotation at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., and recently became engaged to fellow osteopathic medical student Jeannie Schumpert.

In May, Dias will become a member of the first graduating class from PCOM's Georgia campus. As a member of the U.S. Army Health Professionals Scholarship Program, he will be taking part in a military internship and residency program upon graduation.

Friends' auction raises $30,000

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services raised more than $30,000 in July at its sixth annual Silent Auction at Delmar Gardens in Lawrenceville.

Participants were able to bid on more than 400 items, including Air Tran round-trip airline tickets, a hot air balloon ride, framed art and golf and entertainment packages.

The proceeds of the event will benefit Gwinnett senior services programming.

Gwinnett Gab appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post. To submit an item to Gwinnett Gab,

e-mail gab@gwinnettdailypost.com.