SJ Assembly of God hosts Pastor Ricky Jones’ tribute to police and vets
■ By Dennis Fletcher / Contributed
Pastor Ricky Jones has been putting on the Spirit of the Law Awards honor ceremonies for the past 37 years. Last weekend, Oct. 6, the 2018 awards ceremony took place at the San Jacinto Assembly of God Church, 300 W. First St. The theme of the program was Go and do likewise from the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
The program was introduced by U.S. Congressman Raul Ruiz, and the opening prayer, also a short poetry reading of The Spirit Within Us was delivered by writer/poet Ray Thompson. They then turned the program over to master of ceremonies, actor and comedian Jonathan Brooks. Before the award presentations began, the audience of approximately 200 was treated to a moving rendition of the national anthem by professional singer Darla Fox.
The Peace Officer Prayer and Moment of Silence for Fallen Officers and Servicemen and Women was read by Hemet Police Capt. Glen Brock. The audience then was entertained by the University of California at Riverside Pipe Band playing Amazing Grace, including a solo by master bagpiper Ron Berenschot, as the band marched into the church and took its place at the front of the dais. Band members were followed by a color guard from Boy Scout Troop 642 of Simi Valley. Brooks then took over to coordinate the presentation of five different awards to 13 recipients.
The first Spirit of Service Award was presented by Ruiz to American Legion-Hemet Post 53. A second Spirit of Service Award was presented by former Marine John Olague to the Next Step Service Dogs organization that donates K9s for veterans with PTSD, and to its founder, Sally Montrucchio, who said, “We do love our work; it’s very serious.” Also recognized during the program was the CloverLane Foundation, which supports Next Step Service Dogs and other veteran organizations.
Sherri Jones-Thomas presented the Paul and Elaine Jones Spirit of the Community Award to both Celebrate Recovery and to the Veterans Mobility Project, supported by Mike Wofford.
The Spirit of the Law Award was presented by Rudy Moreno to Lt. Dave Furmanski (ret) L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy. The same award was presented by San Jacinto City Councilmember Russ Utz to the California Department of Corrections’ Prison Pups Program that matches dogs with prisoners. Members of the program have displayed an impressive 1 percent recidivism rate. “This means 99 percent of the parolees in this program never went back to prison,” said Utz.
Rudy Moreno presented the Spirit of the Law Award to Calif. Highway Patrol Officers Jaime Andrade and Marten Carrillo for their bravery when rescuing a woman from a burning car with the help of a citizen. Finally, John Olague presented a Spirit of the Law Award to the Hemet Police Department. It was received by Lt. Eric Dickson and Capt. Glen Brock. This award recognized the daily hard work by the men and women of the Hemet Police Department, from the officer responding to calls for service to the records specialists processing mountains of paperwork. The award recognized everyone at the Hemet Police Department who is dedicated to bettering the community.
Wallace Jones presented the Rose B. Jones Faith and Courage Award to Ysidro Rodriguez and Tim Majors. Creator of the Spirit of the Law Awards Program, Pastor Ricky Jones, presented the Founders’ Award to Mike and Patrick Seeley, and to Madison McGuire who founded Madison’s Angels of Hope.
Other people and organizations recognized for their support included: Hemet City Council, Civil Air Patrol, Joyce Martin, Saxton Industries, My City Youth of Hemet, and Ronnie Imel, veterans advocate.
Additional performances included Darla Fox singing Something ‘Bout You, a stand-up comedy routine by actor/comedian Liam Bruenle, portraying a motorcycle gang member that kept the police in stitches, and singer Nick Smith, Pastor of Assembly of God, performing The Dance. The program was concluded by singer/songwriter Jessica Smith’s rendition of Something in the Water.
The entire program was directed by Joshua Robertson, actor and retired deputy.