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Waterbury, CT-15, September 20107-091517CM03  From left, Eugene LaFauci, Exalted Ruler Waterbury Elks Lodge #265, Battalion Chief, Jim Peplau who was named firefighter of the year, Officer Andrea Saunders, who was named police officer of the year and Waterbury Police Sergeant David Knapp, who is also past Exalted Ruler of Elks Lodge #265 stand for a photo outside the lodge in Waterbury on Friday. Two veteran first responders were recognized for their efforts within the community during a ceremony Friday at the Elks Lodge.  Waterbury Police Department Officer Andrea Saunders and Battalion Fire Chief Jim Peplau were recognized as police and firefighter of the year. Saunders, a member of the police force since 2006, was awarded an excellent police duty medal in 2010 for her work in identifying three men involved in a bar fight, one of whom was armed with a gun. She received a second medal late last year after she detained a group of suspected car thieves, one of which was later found carrying a pistol. In addition to engaging with neighborhood residents to tackle their issues, she also created Brass City Cares, which equipped more than 175 children with school supplies.  Peplau, a member of the city's fire department since 1994, has been instrumental in using grant funding to outfit and equip firefighters with the gear they need. That includes rescue equipment, a fitness center and mobile computers. <br />
He puts in that hard work and effort so that the safety of his fellow firefighters can be improved.<br />
     Christopher Massa Republican-American