Renton American Legion Post 19 honors local first responders

The annual Law and Order Night was held on March 23.

The Renton American Legion Fred Hancock Post 19 honored two area first responders at its annual Law and Order Night on March 23.

The Post presented Renton Police Officer Darren Johnson its Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, and Eric Maestas of Valley Communications its 911 Dispatcher of the Year Award.

Maestas, a military veteran, was recognized for his cool-headedness when responding to calls for assistance from the Renton Police Department (RPD) during a shooting in downtown Renton in the summer of 2022. He quickly coordinated the arrival on the scene of personnel from six other law enforcement agencies in the area to help contain the situation. Officer Johnson was honored for his efforts with Code 4 Northwest, an organization that works with area first responders who are dealing with stress and trauma.

Post Commander Patty Reese personally presented the awards to the awardees. Renton Mayor Armando Pavone also spoke at the event, which was attended by a number of officers and personnel from Renton Police, including Deputy Chiefs Jeff Harding and Ryan Rutledge, and the Department’s liaison to the Legion Commander Lance Gray.

One Legionnaire present, Richard Gray (no relation to Lance), a Korean War era veteran, served as a Renton Police Officer from 1958 to 1968.

Richard Gray with son-in-law Gary Nelson. Courtesy photo

Richard Gray with son-in-law Gary Nelson. Courtesy photo