LEONARDTOWN, Md. – The Hollywood-Leonardtown Optimist Club held its annual Respect for Law Banquet on May 2nd, 2023, recognizing eight law enforcement officers from St. Mary’s County. The banquet was held at the Old Breton Inn in Leonardtown and brought together approximately 100 individuals representing Optimist Clubs from St. Mary’s County, as well as law enforcement officers, supervisors, friends, and family.

Pictured Left to Right: Colleen Combs, President of Lexington Park/St. Maries Optimist Club; Michael Tenaglia, President of Hollywood-Leonardtown Optimist Club; Charles Bowen, President of Mechanicsville Optimist Club; Judge Joseph Stanalonis, Recipient of the St. Mary’s County Shop with a Cop Toni Long Person of the Year Award; James Long; and Bill Raddatz. Credit: Kelly Raley

The Respect for Law program is a popular program of Optimist International, which is one of the world’s largest service club organizations with 75,000 adult and youth members in 2,600 clubs in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, and throughout the world. The program aims to instill a strong respect for law in children and recognizes law enforcement officers who uphold and enforce the law in their community.

Those recognized at the banquet included: Corporal Holdsworth of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office; CFC Moncivais-Romero from the St. Mary’s County Correctional Division; Trooper Eckrich from the MD State Police Leonardtown Barrack; Officer 1st Class Neitzel of the MD Department of Natural Resources; Officer Falcon from St. Mary’s College Public Safety Division; Sgt. Shawn Bowie of the NAS Pax River Police; MK2 Jones of the US Coast Guard St. Inigoes; and ASA Sarah Proctor from the State’s Attorney’s Office of St. Mary’s County. Each honoree was presented with a plaque and was prominently featured in the program handed out during the banquet.

2023 Respect for Law Honorees along with Senator Jack Bailey. Credit: Kelly Raley

Judge Joe Stanalonis was also presented with the St. Mary’s Shop with a Cop Toni Long Person of the Year Award, recognizing his contribution to the Shop with a Cop program.

St. Mary’s County Sheriff Steve Hall was the keynote speaker for the evening. State Senator Jack Bailey was also in attendance and presented each honoree with a Proclamation from his office.

“We believe it is important for children to grow up with a strong belief in abiding by the law, respecting law enforcement, and doing what they can to maintain peace,” Club President Michael Tenaglia said. “We hope that our project with the local students will help in this effort.”

The Hollywood-Leonardtown Optimist Club has been participating in the Respect for Law Banquet for five years and has been active in the community since 2018. Other programs and service projects that the Club is involved in include Project Graduation; The Oyster Festival; and various other events that benefit the children in St. Mary’s County.

Optimists conduct positive service projects that reach more than six million young people each year. To learn more about Optimist International, please call (314) 3671-6000 or visit the organization’s website at www.optimist.og.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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