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Heath honors public safety officer for serving with Coast Guard in Cuba

The City of Heath continued its tradition of welcoming community members home from active military duty at the December 21 City Council meeting.

U.S. Coast Guard Reservist Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark “Andrew” Poindexter II, (middle right in above photo) who is a Heath public safety officer, was recognized by Mayor John Ratcliffe and the City Council after recently completing a nine-month deployment to JTF Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He is the son of Rockwall Fire Chief Mark Poindexter, who is a former Heath police officer.

During his tour of duty, he received multiple awards including, a Commandant’s Letter of Commendation, Coast Guard Presidential Unit Citation, Coast Guard Unit Commendation Award, Coast Guard Reserve Good Conduct, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Coast Guard Overseas Ribbon w/Mobilization Device, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Coast Guard Rifle Expert Medal and Coast Guard Pistol Expert Medal.

After accepting the City’s recognition, Officer Poindexter made a surprise presentation of numerous awards to the City Council and staff that he had successfully secured from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

The City of Heath, members of the City Council, City Manager Ed Thatcher, Heath Public Safety Chief Terry Garrett and his officers were presented with the ESGR’s Patriot Award.

The Patriot Award recognizes employers who support a strong National Guard and Reserve force. Employers qualify for the award when they practice leadership and personnel policies that support employee participation in the Guard and Reserve.

Additionally, Chief Garrett and the Heath DPS received the ESGR’s “Above and Beyond Award,” an exclusive honor given to employers whose support exceeds legal requirements for granting leave and providing support for military duty by their employees.

“I am privileged to work for the City of Heath and am thankful for the friends and family in my life,” said Officer Poindexter. “All the steps different people took to help out while I was away made climbing the mountain of being deployed that much easier.”

Officer Poindexter cited numerous examples of the help he received beginning with Chief Garrett’s initial reaction to the news of his upcoming deployment.

“I shared with the Chief my stress about leaving the department short-handed and the financial impact of my deployment on my family,” said Poindexter.

“For over two hours he counseled me and offered solutions. Most importantly, he assured me that I wasn’t leaving my colleagues in a lurch. He said that I was actually opening my arms in support of their freedom.”

Heath DPS officers readily stepped up to cover Officer Poindexter’s shifts while he was away, and also took care of repairs and home maintenance chores like mowing the lawn for his wife, Christa, and young son, Trey.

“I never imagined that so many things could break while I was away!” said Officer Poindexter. “But the guys took care of everything.”

Additionally, the Heath City Council amended staffing policies that secured Officer Poindexter’s position and salary while he was away. These policies remain in place should other employees face military deployment in the future.

“We gratefully acknowledge that we live in freedom today because of the many sacrifices that have been and continue to be made today by our armed forces,” said Mayor John Ratcliffe.

“It is both a privilege and a duty to support brave officers such as Officer Poindexter and the other men and women from our hometown who have left the safety and comfort of home to serve and protect America.”

In addition to Officer Poindexter’s wife and son, Mayor Ratcliffe acknowledged extended family members for their sacrifices including his deployment:  parents Chief Poindexter of Rockwall and Pollyanna Frazier of Laguna Vista; siblings Mindy, Ginger and Zach Poindexter; grandparents Billie and Linnie Hartman; and grandmother Ida Morrow.

City officials and Poindexter family from left are: Chief Poindexter; Heath Mayor John Ratcliffe; Heath DPS Chief Terry Garrett; Christa Poindexter; Officer Mark Poindexter II; Trey Poindexter; Zach Poindexter; and Pollyanna Frazier.

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