Cheney Free Press -

Staff Intern 

West Plains residents named recipients of 2013 SCOPE awards


Spokane County Sheriff's Office

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich presents an award to Keith Harland

The West Plains is an area that prides itself on it's sense of community and dedication to values.

This dedication was reiterated when SCOPE announced the 2013 award recipients this past November.

Cheney and Medical Lake both lay claim to exemplary volunteers this year. Brian Gemmell who works the Cheney/Eastern Washington University area and Keith Harland in Medical Lake and Espanola both received "Volunteer of the Year" awards.

Gemmell was just looking to do some community service and enjoys helping out children at local elementary schools, though recognition for his efforts are not a goal.

"I'm doing it for the community. I'm not doing it for the accolades, it needs to be done," said Gemmell.

Harland has been a staple within the volunteer force, working at marathons and fund raising events and even has acted as treasurer.

Both of the Cheney and Medical Lake units also have recipients for Lifetime Achievements.

Bill Bresko a volunteer in the Medical Lake Espanola area was recognized as a very important part of the SCOPE team, constantly volunteering to flag for events throughout the year.

Bresko also represented the group during the polar plunge, wearing his memorable red long johns complete with trap door.

Bill Hankel received the Lifetime Achievement award for his efforts in the Cheney area.

Hankel recalled being "stupefied" when he was presented the award by Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich in front of over 200 attendees.

Spokane County Sheriff's Office

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich presents an award to Bill Bresko.

Hankel moved to Cheney in 1972 and has volunteered between 10 and 12 years of his time with SCOPE.

"I'll always enjoy doing SCOPE, especially with the people they have now," Hankel said. "They're the greatest people I know."

He is thankful for the appreciation of his efforts, but is himself truly grateful to his family, notably to his wife, Caroline, of 67 years who has stood by him every step of the way.

According to their website, SCOPE strives to increase citizen awareness, community involvement and provide safe living environments.

The hard work of every volunteer provides safety and pride in their communities, for which residents and the sheriff's office are tremendously grateful.

Kelsey Lavelle can be reached at


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