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Winder's chief gets award

WINDER - Police chief Stanley Rodgers of the Winder PD was named Police Chief of the Year by Gravedigger Ministries. Joe Oreskovich, founder of Gravedigger Ministries, presented Rodgers with the award on Sept. 26.

The award spotlights Rodgers for his dedication to educating others and for spiritually uplifting the Winder community. Oreskovich also praised Rodgers' commitment to excellence and to going beyond the call of duty.

Gravedigger Ministries was founded in 1990. Today, the organization hosts a Christian television program currently airing on Atlanta's channel 57.

Oreskovich was homeless for years as the result of drug and alcohol addiction. He was considering ending his life when a firefighter literally extended a hand to him, fed him a hot meal and introduced Christianity into his life.

He earned the nickname "Gravedigger" after working to raise funds to build a memorial to fallen police officers and firefighters. The Forest Lawn memorial is engraved with the names of every Georgia firefighter and police officer killed in the line of duty.

Rodgers, whose law enforcement career began in Florida in 1965, is well known for his extensive involvement with the community. As chief of police in Barnesville and now in Winder, his reputation for reaching out to the community continues and has earned him the distinction of Police Chief of the Year.

Since taking the wheel of the Winder PD in July 2001, Rodgers has brought modernization to the department and led his team to state certification.

"The city of Winder is honored to have someone of the chief's caliber running our police department," said city administrator Bob Beck.