DOWNEY - The Downey Police and Fire departments honored both Corporal Jaime Pelayo and dispatcher Jim Acosta for their exemplary service to the community Tuesday evening during the sixth annual "Saluting Our Communities Finest" ceremony sponsored by the American Legion of Downey."Both these men served their country," said James Higuera, post commander of the American Legion of Downey. "And now they are serving their country again by serving their community." Held at the Los Amigos Country Club, each honoree was given his plaque by his respective chief, Police Chief Rick Esteves and Fire Chief Jeff Turner, who shared comments about their honorees before presenting the awards. Pelayo was hired by the Downey Police Department in 1998 after attending the Orange County Sheriff's Academy and graduating first in his class of nearly 30 students. Currently assigned to Motor Detail, he also works as a Field Training Officer, Range Master, Explorer Advisor, Terrorism Liaison Officer and Special Response Team Member. Pelayo is also a U.S. veteran who completed a tour of duty in Iraq. "If I could have 100 Jaime's, I'd take 100 of them," said Esteves with a laugh. "Jaime is always there in the most respectful manner - he's a pleasure for everyone to work with. He's an American hero and I couldn't be more proud of him." Pelayo thanked the American Legion, his family and the Downey Police Department for the honor and expressed his astonishment upon hearing that he would receive the award. "I was very excited when I heard I would receive this," said Pelayo. "This was one of my target goals - I wasn't expecting to get this so early in my career. Thank you so much." Fire Dispatcher Jim Acosta was also recognized as an integral part of the Downey Fire Department by Fire Chief Jeff Turner, who honored Acosta's 34 years of service to the city. "Dispatchers are sometimes the unsung heroes of the fire department," said Turner. "They take the phone calls - and nothing happens without that phone call." Starting his career off as a radio man in the Navy, Acosta first became a dispatcher with the Montebello Fire Department in 1973. Soon, the center where Acosta worked was consolidated to cover many cities including Downey, Compton, Santa Fe Springs and Lynwood. Over the years, Acosta has been involved in several public safety dispatching organizations and today, he is the lead trainer for the Joint Powers Communications Center. "Jim is really a very quiet man so all his accomplishments over the years have been almost hidden," said Turner before awarding Acosta. "But he has not done all that he has for the attention or praise, but for the people we serve." Acosta thanked the American Legion for the honor and his two daughters and wife of 19 years for their support through the years.
********** Published: May 21, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 5