Park City-area first responders, risking lives and keeping community safe, honored

Elks Lodge recognizes work of law enforcement, fire, emergency medical agencies

The Park City lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks honored the first responders of the year on Saturday at Miners Hospital. They are, from left: Reed Wycoff from the Park City Fire District, Chelsea Gipson from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Justin Mecham from the Utah Highway Patrol, Jordan Seely from the Park City Police Department and Abby Walton from Summit County EMS.
Jay Hamburger/Park Record

The Park City lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks on Saturday honored a set of first responders from the area, noting their wide-ranging accomplishments during a ceremony meant to highlight the importance of law enforcement officers, firefighters and others.

The awards were given outside of Miners Hospital in front of a crowd that consisted largely of other first responders, the families of the honorees and members of the local Elks Lodge. The event, held annually, is a rare opportunity for first responders from the various agencies to be recognized at the same time, and in a public setting, rather than within their own departments. 

“They risk their lives and they’ve dedicated their professions to keeping us safe,” Ben Anderson, the leading knight of the Park City lodge, said in an interview, describing the first responders as often being called to crisis situations.

He said first responders also assist in educating the community, ensure Park City and wider Summit County are protected well and are called into duty in the event of a natural disaster.

Wade Carpenter, the chief of the Park City Police Department, introduced the agency’s police officer of the year. He said Jordan Seely arrived at the department in late 2021 after working for the police in Orem and with the state Department of Corrections. The chief said Seely, a detective, had an important role in training officers within the Police Department and in firearms instruction. Carpenter said Seely has a “tenacious” work ethic.

Kacey Bates, the chief deputy at the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, presented the agency’s honoree, Chelsea Gipson, who is an evidence and crime scene technician and was previously a dispatcher. A biography prepared for the event indicated Gipson started with the Sheriff’s Office in 2019 and “has been a dedicated resource responding to crime scenes during and after work hours, hastening the work for detectives and those involved on these scenes.”

The crowd gathered under sunny skies and with Miners Hospital decorated with a sign of appreciation for the first responders. A flag-raising ceremony preceded the naming of the first responders of the year. The first responders were given plaques. 

The other honorees:

• Abby Walton, the EMT of the year. Walton works for Summit County EMS and, according to her biography, “her attributes of hard work, dedication, professionalism, and empathy for those she serves has set her apart as a leader amongst her peers.” The biography says “her ability to care for a patient in need is invaluable, and includes multiple letters of appreciation for her kindness and excellence.”

• Cpl. Justin Mecham, the Utah Highway Patrol trooper of the year. A biography describes Mecham as “the epitome of a well-rounded trooper” and in five years with the agency, “he has made himself into a very valuable asset for the department and the community.” He has been assigned to cases involving someone brandishing a gun, fatal traffic accidents and assaults with aggravating circumstances. The biography says he oversees training of new troopers and it is a “huge responsibility to ensure that the new troopers have the base knowledge needed to successfully serve the public.”

• Reed Wycoff, the Park City Fire District firefighter of the year, who works with a committee dedicated to the district’s apparatus, instructs younger firefighters and educates the public about fire safety.

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