Jack Cygan, who served on the city of Highland’s Police and Fire Commission for more than four decades, was posthumously awarded Rotary Citizen of the Year during the Respect For Law Banquet Wednesday at the Highland Pistol and Rifle Club.
The Highland Moose, Rotary, Optimist clubs honor local law enforcement personnel, as well as local citizens who support them, during the annual banquet, which includes an awards ceremony and steak fry.
A Highland officer who has made more than 200 arrests since joining the force two years ago was named the David McCain Memorial Officer of the Year at the event, and a Madison County Sheriff’s deputy from Highland was honored as the Optimist Law Enforcement Award.
Rotary Citizen of the Year Award
This year’s Citizen of the Year Award was awarded to the late Jack Cygan for his dedication and efforts to the city of Highland. The award was accepted by his son, John Cygan, and daughters, Valerie Delaney and Denise Tissier.
Jack Cygan was a retired caterer, starting his business in 1963. He also was a coach to many boys and girls. He served his community as a St. Paul Catholic Church youth minister for 35 years and as a Police and Fire Board commissioner for 43 years.
“Jack had recently retired from the board and was spending even more time with his family,” said Keith Poss, president-elect of the Highland Rotary, who presented Cygan’s family with the honor. “Jack was one of three members on the Highland Police and Fire Board who gave countless hours of his time to the police department.”
Cygan lived most of his adult life in Highland, moving here around the 1960s. Along with his wife, Shirley, he raised four children, Valerie, Denise, John and Michael in Highland. He was very active in his nine grandchildren’s activities and had four great-grandchildren.
Jack and Shirley Cygan, both 85, passed away on Nov. 29, 2015, victims of a fire at their home in the 700 block of Pike Drive East in Highland.
“He enjoyed working on the police board and loved the community,” said Cygan’s son, John. “He was a top-notch citizen, and he’d do anything for anyone.”
“If you called, he would be there,” said Tissier, his daughter. “And our mom would be right behind him.”
Optimist Law Enforcement Award
The recipient of the Optimist Law Enforcement Award was Madison County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Brindley of Highland.
Brindley is a member of the ILEAS Special Response Region 8 team and has excelled as a SNIPER for ILEAS. He has been a member of ILEAS since 2007 and still trains for weapons of mass destruction and hostage rescue type events.
“Deputy Brindley also served as a detective for Madison County for over two years,” said Jay Korte, Highland Optimist Club president. “He is a dedicated deputy sheriff and is always available anytime his services are needed. He is dependable and keeps himself in excellent physical condition to handle any assignment given to him. He serves the public of Madison County to the best of his ability on every call for service.”
David McCain Memorial Officer of the Year
The David McCain Memorial Officer of the Year is Shawn Bland.
Bland has been with the department since 2014.
“He is dedicated to his profession and has served both this department and his community well over the course of this past year,” said Highland Police Chief Terry Bell.
Bland made 238 total arrests, with 16 of those arrests being felonies.
“Officer Bland is a truly remarkable law enforcement officer, not only because of his arrest totals, but because he is able to perform his job day in and day out with true professionalism. He stays calm under stressful situations and always treats the public with respect.
“He always completes every task and assignment asked of him without complaint and is quick to assist other officers within the department. His professionalism and character reflect both positively and professionally on the Highland Police Department,” Bell said.
David McCain Memorial Officer of the Year is named in honor of the only Highland police officer to ever lose his life in the line of duty.
Moose Telecommunicator of the Year
The Telecommunicator of the Year is Brad Sutton.
“Brad is an excellent example for all his peers,” said Jon Gould, governor of the Highland Moose Club. “He is an extremely hard worker and very dedicated to his job and the Police department. He can be counted on to be on time and to accomplish any task he is given above and beyond his duties with the utmost professionalism.”
Besides working at HPD, Sutton is also a full-time college student during the day.
“He is furthering his education and constantly looking for ways to improve himself,” Gould said.
According to Chief Bell, Sutton is one of the “go-to TCs” and has been instrumental in the training process of other telecommunicators.