By KAREN MUNDY
"I felt like a mule at the Kentucky Derby."
That was the comment made by Travis Boyd, senior vice president of The Bank of Magnolia, when he was recently given the honor of "citizen of the year" at the Crime Prevention Week Award Breakfast, held Feb. 19, at Tozzi's on 12th.
Boyd said he felt out of place when he was honored for his help in the arrest of two bank robbers, since he was surrounded by law enforcement officers who do this type of work every day.
"You guys with the badges, you're the heroes," he commented at the morning event to the officers, some who were also being honored that morning.
Boyd, a Sandy Valley graduate and a Sandyville resident, was actually nominated for the honor by Sgt. Mark Maskaluk, an officer with the Stark County Sheriff's Department. In his report about the Oct. 12, 2012 robbery of the Canton South Branch of the Bank of Magnolia, Sgt. Maskaluk wrote that Boyd chased after the robber in his own vehicle so that he could give information to the sheriff's department. Boyd, the sergeant said, was able to give descriptions of both suspects and of the vehicle involved, as well as their location and license plate number. The information given to the sheriff's department resulted in the arrest of the robbers.
"Travis Boyd did exhibit an outstanding desire to assist law enforcement and to serve his community by assisting the Stark County Sheriff's Office," concluded Maskaluk in his written statement.
In a phone conversation with the Press-News, Boyd said his decision to follow the robbers was probably not the safest course of action. However, after seeing his staff members go through at least four robberies over the last few years, he was determined to do what he could to help find those who were responsible.
"I just wanted to get some information and let the police do their job," said Boyd. "My first thought was to make sure my staff was safe, but it is irritating to see them go through this. It is tough for everyone to come back to work the next day. It shakes you up."
Boyd was joined at the breakfast by his wife, Nicole. Bank representatives who attended were Kevin Greer, president and CEO; Cheryl Calkins, executive vice president; and Rocco Serafini, vice president.
Travis and his wife are the parents of two children, Rebecca, 12 years old, and Jackson, 10 years old. The family is active at their church, North Industry Christian Church, and Travis sometimes helps out at his parents bowling alley, East Sparta Recreation.
During the honors breakfast, officers honored were: Deputy Tony C. Gayles and Chief Deputy Michael A. McDonald - Stark County Deputies of the Year; Patrolman John R. Hemric of the North Canton Police Department - Community Police Officer of the Year; and Sgt. Scott Prince - Canton Police Officer of the Year.
The awards breakfast is sponsored by the Canton Exchange Club, Canton Police Department, Stark County Sheriff's Department, Canton Rotary Club and Stark County Police Chief's Association.
The theme for the breakfast was "Crime Prevention is...A Community Affair." A statement in the program for the event read as follows: "The Stark County community continues to support and challenge its citizens in this 'Community Affair' to prevent crime by expanding the crime prevention partnership that has been flourishing in our county. Cooperation among police departments, the Stark County Sheriff, the FBI, municipal and county prosecutors and special police units such as the Metropolitan Narcotics Unit and the Canton Stark Criminal intelligence unit is apparent. Stark County has also benefited from an increase in citizen participation with law enforcement, increased cooperation by witnesses in court and an increased participation by Neighborhood Crimewatch groups."
James Knight, president of the Canton Exchange Club, was the master of ceremony. Welcome statements were given by Stark County Commissioner Thomas Bernabei and Canton Mayor William Healy. Guest speakers were Denise Branson and Becky Waltz.