First Responders Event

first reponder banner

4th annual First Responders Appreciation and Criminal Justice Career Exploration Day

Our first responders risk their lives to help others. It’s time for us to thank them!

Join us to explore career options in the criminal justice and public safety field.

Participate in workshops to learn more about safety and security.

Event Details

Friday, Oct. 27
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Black Hawk College Quad-Cities Campus
Sustainable Technologies Building, Rooms 113-114
6600 34th Ave., Moline

Park in Lot 1 off 70th Street


Share information about careers in your field, meet students and BHC instructors, and learn how you can partner with BHC to train and retain a highly qualified workforce.

  • Registration is free.
  • One six-foot table will be provided indoors.
  • If you have a vehicle or outdoor display, space will be available in Lot 1.
  • Space is limited.
  • Lunch will be provided.


Participate in workshops to learn more about First Responder careers.

  • Please register for the event and/or workshops.
  • Registration is free for both the event and the workshops.
  • Anyone can register for the workshops.
  • Join short sessions to learn useful tips and practices about safety and security.
  • Space is limited so register soon.
  • Lunch will be provided for registered participants.

Nominate a First Responder

Nominate a first responder for exemplary service to receive an award.

Say thank you

Write a thank you note to a first responder to recognize their service.

About BHC First Responder Programs

First responders are trained persons who respond to an emergency or crisis call. They may be police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, mental health counselors and psychologists, medical staff and doctors, crime scene technicians, child protective services workers, security guards or first-line soldiers in combat. An estimated 4.6 million people serve as career and volunteer firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics in the United States. There are millions more when the workforce of clinical care and public health are considered.

Black Hawk College is here to support our heroes and train future first responders. Join us for the appreciation efforts and learn more about programs we offer for the first responders’ field.


2021 BHC First Responders Event & Awards

First Responders Appreciation and Criminal Justice CAREER Day 2021

Introduction and Welcome

  • Dr. Seref Onder - Introduction and Welcome
  • Dr. Richard Bush - Presenting Speakers
  • Jeffrey M. Swan - Public Safety Manager, Member of BHC Board of Trustees
  • Tim Wynes, J.D. - BHC President
  • Dr. Amy Maxeiner - BHC VP for Instruction

First Responders, Emergency and Public Safety Panel

  • Daren Gault, Chief of Police Moline Police Department
  • Travis Noyd, Deputy Chief of the EMS Division, Moline Fire Department
  • Tony Tracy, Chief Deputy Director, Office of Emergency Management, Henry County
  • Angela Seegrist, MSN, RN, CEN Supervisor, Emergency Department, Genesis Medical Center, Davenport, East Rusholme St.
  • Todd Malone, Communications Supervisor, Scott Emergency Communications Center
  • Heather Shappard, Rock Island County Sheriff's Department

Awards Ceremony

First Responders Hero Award

  • Officer Andrew Lawler, Rock Island Police Department

Certificate of Appreciation

  • Firefighter Michael Collins, Muscatine Fire Department
  • Lt. Gregory Behning, Davenport Police Department
  • Officer Chris Beaupre, Galesburg Police Department

Thank You Messages

View the "Thank You" Messages from Students to First Responders (PDF)

2020 BHC First Responders Event & Awards

BHC First Responders Appreciation and Career Day 2020

Hosted by Dr. Seref Onder, Director of the Criminal Justice Program, the 2020 Black Hawk College First Responders Appreciation and Career Day featured guest speakers, a panel discussion and the Black Hawk College First Responder Hero Award was presented. The panel was titled "First Responders, Emergencies, and Public Safety Panel" and featured speakers from 15 public, private and non-government organizations from dispatchers to emergency management agencies. Speakers presented information about their roles and responsibilities responding emergencies and replied answers posted by audiences.

2020 BHC First Responders Hero Award

officers at the 2020 first responder awardsOfficer Patrick Mesick, Bettendorf Police Department. The Black Hawk College Criminal Justice Department has awarded Officer Patrick Mesick with the college’s 2020 Hero of the Year Award in recognition of his heroic acts on Sept. 3, 2020. On September 3rd of this year, Officer Mesick took decisive action in order to save a child’s life that was in imminent danger along with four other children and three adults in a residence. Dr. Seref Onder, who oversees the Criminal Justice Program, presented Officer Mesick with the certificate and award at the Bettendorf Police Department. Chief Kimball would like to thank Dr. Onder and Black Hawk College for their support of recognizing all first responders and acknowledging the heroic efforts of Officer Mesick.

2020 Certificates of Appreciation

officer jeff leonhardt receives awardOfficer Jeff Leonhardt, Moline Police Department. The Black Hawk College Criminal Justice Department has awarded Officer Leonhardt with the college’s certificate of appreciation for his heroic and lifesaving efforts on May 1, 2020. Officer Leonhardt saved a life on the I-74 bridge back in May, and you may remember he received the Moline Police Department Life Saving Award at that time. Chief Gault thanked Dr. Onder and Black Hawk College for their efforts to recognize Officer Leonhardt and for their support of all the men and women of Moline P.D.

officer ryan leabo receives awardOfficer Ryan Leabo, Davenport Police Department. Officer Ryan Leabo was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the Black Hawk College Criminal Justice Department for his heroic actions and outstanding bravery in the line of duty. Leabo was shot while making an arrest when investigating attempted burglaries on April 25, 2019. The man who was arrested had several outstanding charges and faced several more for the incident. Chief Sikorski accepted this award from Dr. Onder, Director of the Criminal Justice Department on Officer Leabo’s behalf. Congratulations Officer Leabo.