Merrillville first responders honored at Chamber Gala
During the annual Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce Gala on Saturday (Nov. 18), the community had the opportunity to show their appreciation for two of Merrillville’s first responders while Firefighter Jason Coin was named Merrillville’s firefighter of the year and Officer Jesus Solis Jr., was selected as the Town’s police officer of the year.
“We are fortunate to have an amazing group of men and women who work to keep our community safe every day,” Town Council President Rick Bella said. “Jason and Jesus are among our first responders who run toward danger and not away from it. We can’t thank them enough for their bravery and commitment to keeping Merrillville safe.”
Town Councilman Shawn Pettit remarked about Coin and Solis as awards were presented at the Gala.
He said Coin has more than 20 years of service with the Merrillville Fire Department. Coin started his career as a volunteer firefighter, and his dedication to the community helped him eventually become a full-time firefighter with the Town.
“Along this journey, he has not only fought countless fires but also contributed significantly as a leader in training new firefighters,” Pettit said. “His mentorship and guidance have helped shape the next generation of heroes, ensuring that our community is protected by the best.”
In addition to the typical responsibilities of a firefighter, Coin also plays a major role with the Information Technology within the Fire Department.
“He takes care of our technical needs, always ready to solve problems and answer questions, whether he is on duty at the fire station or at home,” Pettit said. “This level of dedication to maintaining the technological backbone of our department is nothing short of commendable.”
He also said that Coin embodies the core values of integrity, responsibility, accountability, and excellence in all aspects of his life.
“His unwavering commitment to these principles is a testament to the kind of firefighter and individual he is,” Pettit said.
Pettit described Solis as “not your typical law enforcement professional.”
He said Solis isn’t satisfied with simply fulfilling his job requirements. Solis consistently goes above and beyond to achieve extraordinary results.
“Officer Solis is more than just a police officer, he is an exceptional human being who embodies the highest standards of law enforcement,” Pettit said. “His unwavering dedication to his duty, his commitment to excellence, his unique problem-solving abilities, and his selfless service to the community make him truly deserving of the 2023 police officer of the year.”
Throughout his career, Solis has been recognized for his heroic actions to apprehend dangerous criminals.
“In his six years of service, Officer Solis has displayed an uncanny talent for catching those who seek to evade the law,” Pettit said. “He possesses a gift for thinking outside the box, and he is never predictable in his approach. This unique trait among law enforcement officers fuels his extraordinary success, and it is a testament to his innovative thinking.”
Pettit said Solis is also a strong team player, who is always ready to step in and help his fellow officers.
“Whether it’s assisting with paperwork, providing valuable advice, or supporting his colleagues in the execution of their duties, he is a dependable and trusted member of the force,” Pettit said.