September 29, 2021
PELHAM, Alabama -- The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce recognized first responders during their annual Public Safety Awards luncheon at the Pelham Civic Complex & Ice Arena.
Pelham's 2021 Police Officer of the Year is Juan Gomez. His wife, Katie Gomez, joined Chief of Police Pat Cheatwood to receive the award. Gomez died from complications of COVID-19 on August 14, 2021. He was an eleven-year veteran of the department. Gomez was a member of the Emergency Services Unit and the Bike Patrol Unit. He loved to talk with people and never hesitated to help someone in need.
Chief Cheatwood reminded the audience of Officer Gomez's faith and shared some of his final words to his friends: "I trust in the Lord. He is a sovereign God. I will accept whatever comes my way because I know I'm okay, either way."
Pelham's 2021 Firefighter of the Year is Jim Terrell. He was nominated for his tireless efforts to build the Fire Department's Peer Support Program. The program is now recognized by the Alabama Fire College and will be taught to all recruits taking Firefighter I and Firefighter II classes at the state level.
"Jim had the vision to help those that help others because of all of the mental trauma firefighters endure, whether it's from a specific incident or an accumulation of tragic events over the career of a firefighter," said Fire Chief Mike Reid.
Terrell has over 35 years in the fire service and has served with the Pelham Fire Department since March 2005.