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Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce honors local police and firefighters

The community of Palm Springs took time today to pay tribute to local police and firefighters. The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce hosted its Annual Police and Fire Appreciation Luncheon.

Special guests included Palm Springs Police Chief Andrew Mills, Palm Springs Fire Chief Kevin Nalder, and retired police chief Bryan Reyes.

Reyes was given the Richard M. Milanovich Community Service Award.

"These were the ones that stood out exceptionally and we're able to reward them with accolades that they so well deserved," said Mills.

Mills recognized the heroic acts of some of his team members. One of them was officer Barron Lane who was awarded the Medal of Courage for disarming a person while being inside of a vehicle. 

"I mean, that's a once in a lifetime event," said Mills. "I'm so proud of the ability of [officer Lane] to disarm a person who had intent on shooting somebody else."

Another officer honored was Kristin Sandoval. She was recognized for recovering several stolen vehicles.

"I mean I work hard for it. It's a lot of work that goes into it," said Sandoval. "It's good to be honored for it."

Palm Springs Fire Captain Nathan Gunkel was honored for his work navigating the pandemic. 

"A lot of work getting first of all the testing, treatment, prevention with the personal protective equipment," said Gunkel.

The event ultimately honored those who answer the call to protect without any hesitation. 

"As firefighters and police, we're always uncomfortable being recognized," said Gunkel. "We don't do it for the pat on the back. You know, we don't do it for the bundles of money. We do it because we love it, you know. We love people and we like to help people."

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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.

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