Fernando Quintero with Michael Meador and Exchange Club’s John Torres

The Lake Highlands Exchange Club presented their quarterly Police and Firefighter Awards Friday, honoring first responders who risk their lives daily for the safety of Lake Highlands citizens.

New Fire Chief Michael Meador, a 17-year veteran working just his third shift in our neighborhood, expressed his excitement about coming to LH and his gratitude for the warm welcome.

Meador called Driver Engineer Fernando Quintero “the epitome of a great firefighter” with “a commitment that is unwavering.” He recounted to a rapt crowd Quintero’s swift water rescue of boys skipping school in 2015. It seems the 5 kids were messing around and got caught in rapidly rising water at Five Mile Creek. Quintero tied a rope around himself and two of the kids, pulling the boys to dry land. His firefighter mates joined him, and all five were saved.

Lt. Todd Thomasson from the Dallas Police Northeast Division called Kim Mraz “the female Radar O’Reilly,” referring to the character in TV’s M*A*S*H who had near-magical knowledge of the goings-on in the military medical unit.

“She has a master’s degree in something we can’t pronounce,” Thomasson joked. “She’s very dedicated and she absolutely loves it here.”

A surprised and grateful Mraz agreed – with the “loving it” part.

“You guys have been a great community to us.”

Exchange Club’s John Torres also shared a recap of the year’s impressive list of disbursements by the club:

Fall: $14,990 to 4 organizations:

Northlake Elementary (Outdoor Learning Structure)

Aikin Elementary (Kindergarten Literacy Prevention Program)

Thurgood Marshall Elementary (Pawprint Celebration and fundraising materials)

Lake Highlands Junior Women’s League (Run the Highlands)

Spring: $56,505 to 6 organizations:

City of Dallas (Flagpole Hill Playground)

Lake Highlands Family YMCA (Make-A-Splash)

Wallace Elementary (Outdoor Learning Structure)

Pamper Lake Highlands

Forest Lane Academy (Coding Club)

Davion Hicks Memorial Fund

Scholarships: $122,000 (30+ students)

Lt. Todd Thomasson presents to Kim Mraz as Exchange Club’s Joe Torres congratulates her