ROCK ISLAND — Rock Island detective Gene Karzin and Fire Marshal Jeff Hindman have the perfect end to their careers. Mr. Karzin is a recent retiree, and Fire Marshal Hindman will retire at the end of the year. Both won the 33rd annual Knights of Columbus Civic Awards; Mr. Karzin for Police Officer of the Year and Fire Marshal Hindman for Firefighter of the Year.
"It kind of took me by surprise to even be nominated. I don't really know what makes me stand out," said Fire Marshal Hindman. "It's an honor to be recognized" by the Knights of Columbus and fellow firefighters, he said. "I kind of almost look at it as a lifetime achievement award for me."
Mr. Karzin was just as humble.
"There's a lof of people nominated, probably of which deserved it more than I," he said. He had been nominated in the past, but always pushed people to vote for those out on patrol, feeling they were more deserving of the award. He was surprised to hear he had won, but says it is "special that it was my last year."
Mr. Karzin had been nominated four times before, according to Rock Island Police Chief Scott Harris, who said Mr. Karzin was an "impeccable worker" and an "outstanding detective." He was excellent at talking to people and was the closer for tough interviews. "He was a very good employee. Gene put the needs of others before himself," said Chief Harris.
Fire Marshal Hindman started his career after working in construction with an East Moline firefighter, who encouraged him to take the test at only 20 years old. He started with the Rock Island Fire Department at age 21. Now, 35 years later, he is wrapping up his career in the same place it began.
Mr. Karzin followed in his father's footsteps. "My dad was a cop for Rock Island for 32 years," he said. Before coming to Rock Island, Mr. Karzin was a police officer in Louisiana. He was with the Rock Island force for 23 years, spending the last 14 as a detective.
For Fire Marshal Hindman, the most rewarding part of his job is helping people be safe. Whether it's rescuing people from a fire, giving medical treatment, or educating young kids to "stop, drop and roll," he feels safety is the most important aspect. "It's rewarding to get involved with other people's lives and know that somewhere down the road you might affect their lives," he said.
"The rewarding part is to find out the answers for victims," said Mr. Karzin. He feels his work helped victims and their families find peace.
"The Knights of Columbus has really done something for the department as a whole," said Mr. Karzin. He feels the award is an honor for the entire police force.
Fire Marshal Hindman also gives lots of credit to everyone who has been a positive influence on him throughout his career. "I'd just like to thank everybody. I appreciate their support."
What: The 33rd annual Knights of Labor Civic Awards When: Sunday, June 10 starting at 5 pm Where: Rock Island VFW post 1303; 3715 9th St., Rock Island, IL
There will be a roast beef dinner and entertainment by Jordan Middle School singers. Local elementary students also will present a program called “How Police Officers and Firefighters Help Our Community.” Admission is $12 for adults and $5 for those 12 and younger.
Today is Tuesday, June 18, the 169th day of 2013. There are 196 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Fanatics have grown wonderfully civil since the president snubbedthem by revoking Burnside's infamous attack upon the freedom of the press. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The Interstate baseball league has collapsed, leaving Davenport'sleading team without a league connection. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Passengers were stunned yesterday when lightning struck a LongView street car at 9th Ave. and 25th St. 1938 -- 75 years ago: X-ray examinations today traced the trouble with Dizzy Dean's$250,000 pitching arm to a pulled muscle back of his right shoulder blade. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Radio station WQAD in Moline is being considered by the NationalCivil Defense Office for selection as a "secured communication center" Mrs. Gault,executive deputy director of the Moline Civil Defense unit reported today. 1988 -- 25 years ago: "Marketplace 29 A.D." an unusual vacation Bible school programthat will allow children to live three days as people did during the Bible Times June 21-23. The three day program, is a joint project of Aldersgate and Bethel-Wesley UnitedMethodist churches.