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Pagan and Kim are East Hawaii’s Officer and Firefighter of the year

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Police Officer Ryan Pagan and Fire Captain Garrett Kim display plaques from the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

Police Officer Ryan Pagan and Fire Captain Garrett Kim display plaques from the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Officer Ryan Pagan as “Officer of the Year” and Captain Garrett Kim as “Fire Fighter of the Year” in a dinner ceremony Thursday evening (March 24).

Officer Pagan, who joined the Police Department in 2008, is a patrol officer assigned to the South Hilo District. Kim has worked for the Fire Department for 15 years and is assigned to the Kaumana Fire Station. During a ceremony at Nani Mau Gardens, each honoree received a plaque from the Aloha Exchange Club, a gift basket of donated items from local businesses and certificates of commendation from the mayor’s office, the governor’s office, the state Legislature and the Hawaiʻi County Council.

Officer Pagan’s award was for rescuing an elderly woman who, along with her husband, had been reported missing. After several days of searching, Pagan located the 88-year-old woman and the body of the 93-year-old man in a ravine down the street from a house owned by a relative. The woman had fallen days earlier, was unable to get up, and had been without food and water since her fall. Her husband was found nearby but was no longer alive.

“It is Officer Pagan’s perseverance that made the difference which saved a life that day,” wrote Lieutenant Alan Kimura in nomination papers. “He is not a person who looks for recognition or talks about his accomplishments; however, his actions deserve to be acknowledged.”

Captain Kim was honored for spearheading several programs that benefit the Fire Department and the community. He obtained the grant money, instructors, and developed the class outline for the Fire Department Fire Ground Survival Program. He led the group to obtain grant money and development of the Fire Department’s Firefighter Peer Fitness Program. He has been an advocate for raising awareness of cancer prevention within the Fire Department. And he has frequently served as planning section chief in the Fire Department’s assistance to the county’s response to dengue fever.

“Captain Kim has accomplished all of these things and much more, without ever seeking any type of recognition,” said Captain Christian Wong, who nominated him. “He has accomplished all of these things out of genuine concern for his fellow firefighters and service to the community. The development of all these programs and the acquisition of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money to support them has been a great value to this community.”

The “Officer of the Year” and “Fire Fighter of the Year” awards are projects of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

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