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The original item was published from 12/15/2022 2:40:46 PM to 12/31/2022 12:00:12 AM.

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Posted on: December 15, 2022

[ARCHIVED] First-responders honored by Chapel Hill Chamber, UNC

ES Hernandez 2022

The Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Carolina Athletics held a Community Hero Night to honor remarkable first responders in Orange County on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Eric Castro was named Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy of the Year, and Administrative Assistant Jorge Hernandez was recognized as Orange County Emergency Services Employee of the Year.

Voted on by the Sheriff’s Command Staff, Deputy Castro received this award in recognition of his professionalism, positive attitude, and commitment to service. Serving since 2002, first in the detention center and then as a patrol deputy, Castro has a relentless work ethic. 

He is bilingual and a drone pilot; both skills are needed even when he is not on duty, and he always responds to requests for assistance with a positive attitude. He serves on the honor guard, another significant time commitment, and as a field-training officer, helping mold a new generation of deputies. 

Castro’s commitment to the community extends beyond his service as a deputy. As just one example, in his spare time, he regularly participates in Faith ID events to help bridge the gap between law enforcement officers and the Latino community.

“Obviously, we are very proud of Corporal Castro,” said Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood. “He represents everything a Sheriff would want in a deputy.  He is respected by his colleagues as well as the community he serves.  If I had to describe him in three words, I would choose, professional, dedicated, and humble.”

Hernandez joined the Emergency Services team in October of 2019 as Administrative Assistant in Finance/Administrative Services Division. Since joining, he has made many significant contributions to the department, including revamping our uniform management process, managing the credentialing (ID) program, creation of graphics (including our first Pride Month logo), and data reporting for non-congregate sheltering during COVID.

He has assisted at Final Four, NCAA, Halloween Treatment Centers and many other special events throughout the last year. In addition to his unwavering positivity and dedication, Jorge provides exceptional customer service.

“Jorge is a shining example of who we all aspire to be,” said Orange County Emergency Services Director Kirby Saunders. “He consistently represents our department’s core values of integrity, respect, compassion, and fairness in various ways. Jorge is a constant source of inspiration and takes pride in providing an exceptional customer service experience to everyone he meets. We are extremely honored to have Jorge Hernandez on our team and are excited to honor him as our 2022 Emergency Services Employee of the Year.”


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