On July 24, 2023, the Optimist Club of Calvert, Prince Frederick, and the Optimist Club of Solomons came together to host their esteemed ‘Respect for Law’ Awards Ceremony, an annual event that recognizes the outstanding contributions of law enforcement and public safety personnel in the county. The ceremony occurred at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s Parish Hall in Prince Frederick, where commendations were presented to those who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to their duties and the community they serve.

Among the honored individuals was Master Deputy First Class (M/DFC) Robert Burgraff, a distinguished Calvert County Sheriff’s Office member with an impressive 19-year tenure. M/DFC Burgraff’s commitment to his role and outstanding community outreach efforts earned him this prestigious accolade. He has predominantly served in the Sheriff’s Office Patrol Bureau throughout his career but found his true passion in 2010 when he joined the CCSO K9 unit.

Throughout the years, M/DFC Burgraff has worked with four dogs in the K9 unit, including Manchi, Taz, Rex, and Remi. He and his loyal K9 partners have actively participated in numerous community events, enriching the lives of the people they serve. Their appearances at events like the Calvert County Fair, Career Day at elementary schools, K9 demonstrations at local schools and daycares, and Touch-a-Trucks events have left a lasting and positive impact on the community.

His colleagues describe M/DFC Burgraff as a courteous and respectful individual with an old-fashioned demeanor that resonates well with colleagues and the public. He possesses an unwavering level of professionalism and composure, even in the most challenging situations, making him an asset to the Sheriff’s Office and the community. Sheriff’s Office officials expressed their gratitude for his exceptional service and dedication, recognizing him as an exemplary member of their team.

The ‘Respect for Law Awards Ceremony didn’t just focus on M/DFC Burgraff’s accomplishments. It also recognized the contributions of other outstanding individuals who have played pivotal roles in ensuring the safety and security of Calvert County:

  • Theresa Anderson, a Public Safety Dispatcher with Calvert Emergency Communications
  • Kaitlin Sewell, an Animal Control Officer with Calvert County Animal Control
  • Allison Walton, Assistant States Attorney with Calvert County States Attorney’s Office
  • James Strain, a Correctional Deputy First Class at Calvert County Detention Center
  • Allison Higgs, an Officer First Class with Maryland Natural Resource Police
  • Kevin Bauer, a Trooper First Class with Maryland State Police

These individuals were celebrated for their exceptional dedication and commitment to their respective roles, each contributing to the betterment of the community in their unique way.

The Optimist Club’s annual awards ceremony acknowledges the commendable efforts of these law enforcement and public safety personnel and fosters a sense of appreciation and unity within the community. By recognizing and highlighting these individuals’ outstanding contributions, the event inspires others to follow suit and contribute positively to the county’s welfare.

As the ceremony came to a close, applause and cheers filled the hall, echoing the collective gratitude of the community for these unsung heroes. Their selfless service and unwavering dedication make Calvert County a safer and more harmonious place for everyone. Congratulations to all the honorees for their well-deserved recognition, and may their exemplary actions inspire others to strive for greatness in their endeavors, making a lasting impact on the community they serve.

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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