American Legion recognizes Virginia Beach public safety personnel


VIRGINIA BEACH – American Legion Princess Anne Post 113 honored four public safety representatives during it’s annual Law and Order Day gathering on Sunday, Feb. 11.

The post recognized Master Firefighter Daniel Mugan, Master Police Officer Travis Aicher, Emergency Medical Services Lt. Amanda Stuffel and sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Whitehead during a gathering at the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel and Conference Center.

City Councilmember Bobby Dyer, who represents the Centerville District, delivered remarks about the value of the work done by public safety personnel in Virginia Beach.

“It is an honor to stand here among you heroes,” Dyer said, noting that respect for the law and those who serve it makes for a great city and society.

Emergency Medical Services Award: Stuffel was nominated for service to both the Courthouse station and to the city, which she has represented as a “wonderful leader,” according to a nominating letter written by Katie Snell, the city’s EMS recruitment and retention officer. “She has done so much for the system and others, but never seeks recognition for herself,” Snell wrote. Stuffel assists the basic life support academy, helps organize major events for the Courthouse rescue and serves as administrative lieutenant, in addition to her career and family, according to the nominating letter.

Fire Department Award: Mugan is assigned to the communications and information technology bureau, and he was nominated, in part, due to his strong work there. He was recognized as a constant presence teaching the operation, maintenance and troubleshooting of key systems. In a nominating letter, he was hailed as “the go-to person for any computer, radio or phone question” and for his work coordinating with other departments.

Police Department Award: Aicher, who has served in the police department for seven years, was nominated, in part, due to his assignment with the fatal crash team, in which he helps investigate serious incidents on the roads, performs traffic enforcement duties and educates the community about traffic safety, according to a nominating letter. Aicher also serves on the crisis negotiating team and was recognized for completing a rigorous drug recognition evaluation program that helps him detect impairment when drivers are under the influence of drugs other than alcohol.

Sheriff’s Office Award: Whitehead, who serves in the office’s K9 unit, was recognized for his dedication to the role of working with his service dog to protect citizens. Whitehead and his service dog, trained in explosives detection, conduct daily security sweeps at the courthouse, among other duties. In a nominating letter, he was credited with discovering two suspicious packages and screening vehicles and numerous buildings, inside and out.

Whitehead, who attended the event with his family and a number of representatives of the sheriff’s office – including his father, Corp. Ernest Whitehead Jr., and Sheriff Ken Stolle – said in an interview that he was honored at the recognition.

“The real person who deserves this award is at home,” he added, speaking of his service dog, Roxie.

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