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Club honors firefighter, police officer of the year
BARSTOW • Each year the Barstow Optimists Club sets aside a week to honor and appreciate those in law enforcement by recognizing a police officer and a firefighter of the year.
This year the Optimists Club recognized Nick DiNapoli as firefighter of the year and Tim Heiden as police officer of the year. Both were lauded for their contributions to the local community — a quality Optimist Club leaders look for in each recipient.
“They don’t do it for the accolades,” said Ray Villegas with the Optimist Club. “They say, ‘Don’t call me a hero.’ ... They just do their job.”
DiNapoli has worked for the Barstow Fire Protection District since the mid ’80s, retiring a short time before returning to the post. He and his wife own and operate DiNapoli’s Firehouse restaurants in Barstow and Apple Valley. Optimist Club members chose DiNapoli as this year’s recipient because of the many local charities and youth sports teams his restaurant sponsors, said Vice President Bob Burke.
“He’s been in the community a long time,” Burke said. “His restaurant sponsors many things ... They’re always out in the community.”
Heiden has worked for the Barstow Police Department for 15 years, working his way up to watch commander. He oversees the Police Activities League, organizes the Christmas Cops and Kids each year, and works with the Barstow Citizens On Patrol.
“Tim just exemplifies that — very, very active in the community and does a lot to help people out,” Burke said.
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