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Police officer honored for saving boy’s life at pool party

A Middletown police officer, credited with possibly saving the life of a drowning swimmer, recently was named Employee of the Year by the City of Middletown.

Officer Sheoki Reece was presented the award on Jan. 18 by City Manager Doug Adkins during a City Employee Meeting. The award was voted on by Middletown employees.

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On June 11, while off-duty, Reece potentially saved the life of a young boy, Kash, 8. While at a pool party, Kash went under the water and couldn’t make it to the edge of the pool.

There were other kids in the pool, and they thought he was playing around. His brother saw that he was limp and got him out of the pool. Kash wasn’t breathing, and was blue in the face.

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They handed him to Reece, who administered CPR. She instructed others to call 911 and continued to give CPR until Kash was revived.

The city said the officer did “a phenomenal job” in getting the boy breathing, while remaining calm under the pressure. The boy was transported to the emergency room, and he has fully recovered, the city said.

Reece, 41, was hired as a corrections officer in 2007 and was promoted to a police officer in 2013, according to city records.

Todd Steinbrunner from the Middletown Division of Fire won the quarterly “Extra Mile” award.

He was nominated by a fellow employee because he organized a successful T-shirt fundraiser to help the fight against breast cancer.

City Planner Ashley Combs and Zoning Administrator Jeff Green shared the quarterly Customer Service Award. They were nominated by a citizen who commented that in all his years of dealing with planning and zoning employees in various cities, he had never been treated “so courteously or professionally.”

Budget Analyst Angela Carr won the yearly “Middletown Way” award, which recognizes employees who best represent the values of the Middletown Way. Each department head is allowed to nominate one person, and Adkins chooses the recipient.

In the nomination letter, Carr was applauded for playing “a critical role” in the finance department, maintaining positive communications among all and helping co-workers, vendors and the public whenever possible. She is also the “go-to” person for many people within other departments throughout the city, the letter said.

Adkins said about 20 years ago, the city had close to 700 employees, but now has about 375. When he took over as city manager in 2014, morale was suffering as staff had been laid off during the recession, he said.

He thought it was important to recognize the hard work being performed each day by the staff. A committee was formed to build an employee recognition program for the city to recognize when “exceptional work” was being done by employees, he said.

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