HICKORY – The Hickory Elks held their Americanism Recognition Ceremony on Feb. 1, honoring an exceptional member of Hickory’s fire and police departments, among others.

Marcus Scott was named the 2020 Exceptional Firefighter of the Year. Scott was instrumental in a long-term project for Hickory Fire Department, which consisted of educating and gathering information for the department’s pre-incident planning program. The program gives firefighters valuable hazard data and contact information on the structures in Hickory, as well as identifies potential hazards for emergency personnel.

Throughout the process, he coordinated with shift personnel and light duty firefighters to complete and enter more than 7,000 preplans into the GIS program.

In addition to his work on the pre-incident planning program, Scott worked tirelessly over the past year to ensure all documents were available and accurate for the City’s recent ISO inspection. He developed a training program to track all required ISO training. During the inspection, he served as a liaison between the training division and the State Fire Marshal’s Office to conduct rural water supply operations for the inspection.

Scott has also been instrumental in the implementation of a policy management solution for the department. He gathers information on the program and assists the department with implementation. Utilizing his technology background, he travels across the United States providing data management training and showcasing innovative Hickory Fire Department projects.

Master Police Officer Soua Vang was chosen by his peers as the 2020 Exceptional Police Officer of the Year in special recognition of his many years of dedicated service to both his country and community. Vang began his career with Hickory Police Department at 26 years old on June 16, 1995, and recently completed his service, retiring on Dec. 1, 2019, after serving Hickory for 25 years.

A native of Luang Prabang, Laos, Vang served as a rifleman in the United States Marine Corps for four years prior to his police service, from 1987 to 1991, and was honorably discharged at the rank of corporal. He is a veteran of the Gulf War, having served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During his service in the Marine Corps, he received a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, a Good Conduct Medal, a National Defense Service Medal, a Southwest Asia Service Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon, a National Unit Citation, and an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

He then enlisted in the N.C. Army National Guard and was still serving there when he began his career with Hickory Police Department in 1995. As a police officer, Vang immediately made a positive impact on his fellow coworkers and the neighborhoods that he served. His ability to speak the Hmong language was an asset to the department and to the community.

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