Ralph Frank Memorial Award
Sgt. Jeff Rater, Lynchburg Police Department
The Exchange Club of Lynchburg annually recognizes public safety officers with the Ralph Frank Memorial Public Safety Award.
2016 Public Safety Officer of the Year
Sgt. Jeff Rater, Lynchburg Police Department
Since the inception of the Community Action Team (CAT) in 2016, Sgt. Jeffry Rater has been the supervisor for the unit. All members of the unit have worked unusual hours, showed up for events at a moment's notice to represent the department, and assisted other LPD units with special projects and enforcement activities. They have also worked to establish better personal relationships with various citizens and civic groups throughout the city of Lynchburg. However, as the leader of the unit, Sgt. Rater has also spent countless hours on the phone and in meetings to plan and implement these activities. He has been diligent in carrying out these duties in a thorough manner, to follow up on citizen complaints, and to utilize creative solutions for nuisance abatement issues.
CAT members do not respond to radio calls for service, which gives them the ability to be proactive and address problems and offer solutions. Sgt. Rater leads the officers to focus on citizen complaints regarding drug dealing, abandoned vehicles, blighted property, child neglect, disorderly conduct, and other nuisance abatement concerns. He meets with apartment complex managers, assists with food distribution with the local food bank, and interacts with the youth at city recreation centers.
Sgt. Rater initiated the formation of a group of inner city minority pastors even before the CAT was formed. This once-monthly meeting with a few pastors hasd now grown to include civic leaders, pastors and concerned citizens in the city of Lynchburg to form the One Community, One Voice Lynchburg group. This faith-based group works with underprivileged communities to help improve police and community relationships.
There have been several times when the CAT officers and members of the One Community, One Voice group went door to door in neighborhoods following acts of gun violence or homicides. These group members, led by Sgt. Rater, were able to offer support to the citizens living nearby and ask for their help in providing any information to the police.
To have a positive relationship with tenants, CAT officers organized several block parties with the One Community, One Voice group in the summer of 2017. Sgt. Rater, in his leadership role with One Community, One Voice Lynchburg, arranged for staff from local agencies to hold job fairs, counseling, offender re-entry job training, health care, and distribution of clothing and coats. The CAT officers also worked with this group to help provide a coat drive for needy children, and have provided a Christmas party and presents for needy families from money donated through a local State Farm Insurance agent. Sgt. Rater was instrumental in securing a grant from WalMart to provide bikes to needy children as a reward for improved behavior while in school for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.
Sgt. Rater's primary goal is to address citizen concerns while maintaining positive relationships and building trust in the community.
All-American Volunteer Award
Outgoing Exchange President Barry Stephens (left) presents Tommy Creegan with his award.
Award winner Tommy Creegan and wife Terri.
2016 All-American Volunteer Award Winner
At the President's Dinner in June of 2016, Tommy Creegan was presented with the Exchange Club of Lynchburg's 2016 All-American Volunteer of the Year Award. Tommy was nominated by the club board for his dedicated service and his participation in the club's many projects throughout the year, including GiveAKidAFlagToWave coordination, Freedom Shrine installation, the Pancake Jamboree, the Veteran's Bus Trip, the Rush Homes project and Salavation Army kettle ringing, as well as his unfailing attendance at both regular and club board meetings. If there's a project that needs a volunteer, Tommy is always there.
What some people may not know, however, is that Tommy comes from a family of New York City Police Officers and it was his wish to continue the tradition in order to help people. Some of the incidents he was involved in during his tenure —
In 1974, he answered a domestic dispute and was picked up by the suspect and thrown over a banister, getting his leg caught and hanging upside down, resulting in a blood clot.
He was stabbed in the shoulder and arm by an intoxicated man, receiving stiches.
While working in Brooklyn on a snowy night in 1982, he was approached by a passing car and told that several teenagers had fallen through the ice in a nearby lake. Tom and his partner responded and were able to begin pulling the youths out; however, Tom went through the ice. Recovering, he and his partner were able to save two of the four teens involved.
A tragic incident known as the Social Club Fire of 1987 occured when an estranged boyfriend threw a gallon of gas on the stairs of an establishement with only a single entrance/exit. There were no windows or other doors, and 87 young people perished. Tom was called to the morgue and worked with the doctors, removing personal effects and fingerprinting to identify the victims.
He was a First Responder to Ground Zero, September 11, 2001.
He's certified Homeland Security — Level III.
He's a Lifetime Member of the PBA and was a delegate from 1987 to 2001.
He was Vice President of the NYPD Emerald Society.
Upon retiring from the New York City Police Department, Tommy worked a variety of security jobs, including Morgan Stanley and Carmine's in the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City. In 2008, Tommy and his wife Terri moved and continue to reside in Forest, Virginia.
Book of Golden Deeds Award
2017 Book of Golden Deeds Award Winner
Dr. Judy Goding
Volunteer efforts are very important to our society and should not go unnoticed. The Exchange Club's longest running — and most prestigious — project is the Book of Golden Deeds Award. This award recognizes dedicated volunteers who give endless hours of their time and talents toward making their communities better places to live.
Honoring a fellow citizen with the Book of Golden Deeds Award is a heartwarming and inspiring act not only for the honoree, but for the Exchange Club. The Book of Golden Deeds Award exemplifies the Exchange Club's beliefs.
2017 Book of Golden Deeds Award Winner
Dr. Judy Goding was the recent recipient of the Book of Golden Deeds Award. Judy is the Special Friends advocate/adviser and brings such energy to this group of special people. Judy recently retired from the Central Virginia Training Center where she worked for over 40 years. She is very active at her church and in the community. Well deserved recognition for Dr. Judy and all of her accomplishments.
Volunteering in the Community
Dave Burch Assists with Cleanup
Exchange Club members volunteer once per month at The Daily Bread, one of Lynchburg's charitable organizations that provide hot meals to those in need.
Rush Homes Project
The Exchange Club of Lynchburg's Rush Homes
team stands in front of their recently
completed landscaping project
Rush Homes is a non-profit organization that provides affordable and accessible rental housing opportunities to people with disabilities and how incomes in the greater Lynchburg region. The Exchange Club formed a partnership with Rush Homes, and on a quarterly basis they visit their adopted home and perform outside maintenance activities such as mowing the grass, putting down mulch, weeding flower beds, and power washing the home's exterior.
In Rush Homes' "Home of Your Own" Program, people with all types of disabilities are provided with housing opportunities. In this program, the resident chooses where he or she wishes to live. Unlike a group home or nursing home, they decide who lives with them and where their furniture is placed. Rush Homes does not provide services to residents in this program; if assistance such as home health care or companion care is needed, it must be arranged with a private provider prior to moving into the home.
Rush Homes acts as a concerned advocate landlord. The homes are located in residential neighborhoods and look just like any other home. They are on or near a bus line and, if possible, close to shopping centers and restaurants. Rush Homes purchases, renovates, and maintains the home while the resident pays an affordable rent.
For Kids Sake Safety Day
Bike helmet protection is one of many topics
during For Kids Sake Safety Day
For Kids Sake Safety Day is held every year, typically on a Saturday in Setember, with the sole purpose of educating children and their parents about safety. Traffic safety is a big part of this event, but there are also fun things for kids to do while learning.
This valuable event has been sponsored and coordinated by the Campbell County Sheriff's Office, Amherst County Sheriff's Office, Lynchburg Police Department, City of Lynchburg Sheriff's Office, Virginia State Police, and the Lynchburg Fire Department.
Numerous activities are typically planned, including bicycle safety awareness, car seat inspection, installation and turn-in, DUI goggles and driving simulator, K-9 demonstrations, "McGruff" and "Eddie Eagle," child ID cards, SWAT vehicle, armored vehicle, fire safety trailer, air bag demonstration, project lifesaver demonstration, car extrication, and interactive crash display.
Salvation Army Kettle Campaign
For years, Exchange Club of Lynchburg members have volunteered to assist with the Salvation Army's Kettle Campaign during the Christmas season. Members have assisted at various Kroger Food Store locations as well as at Sam's Club.