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Elks honor first responders at annual Hometown Heroes ceremony

January 13, 2019

BULLHEAD CITY — Bruce Greisen, Ryan Granath and Chad Wollitz were singled out Saturday evening as among the best the community has to offer.

The three were named Hometown Heroes by Bullhead City Elks Lodge No. 2408 at the club’s annual dinner celebrating local first responders.

“These gentlemen go over and above their jobs,” Melanie Beaver said of the three.

Beaver chairs the lodge’s Americanism committee, which hosted the event. She said the three men show both excellence in their jobs and outstanding service to the community.

Greisen, a corporal with the Bullhead City Police Department, said he was very honored at being chosen as Elks Peace Officer of the Year.

“I was surprised,” he said after the ceremony. “I had no idea.”

Greisen’s file is “filled with accolades for his professionalism, wisdom and willingness to help,” according to his citation for the awards. His roles with the BCPD include SWAT team member, and his community service includes assisting with Shop with a Cop.

Beaver noted that Greisen was named officer of the year by the police department, but could not attend that ceremony due to illness.

Wollitz and Granath are firefighters with the Fort Mojave Mesa and Bullhead City fire departments, respectively.

Wollitz said being named Fort Mojave Mesa Firefighter of the Year meant a lot to him, and said that he has been able to reach the level he has because of the people around him.

“Everyone I work with at the department, they support me in my goals,” he said. “I’ve got a long career ahead of me, so I’ll be around for a while.”

Wollitz’s career path began shortly after he arrived in the area; he was inspired to pursue a career as a first responder while working as a lifeguard at the Laughlin Aquatic Center. He has been involved in local trunk-or-treat and Shop with a First Responder programs, completed paramedic training, and is enrolled in Mohave Community College’s fire science program.

Granath is Bullhead City Firefighter of the Year. Beaver noted that he has been involved with the Men of Fire motorcycle club since 2013. The club’s poker runs, Beaver said, have raised nearly $60,000 to assist local veterans.

Granath, a captain, estimated that he has accumulated more than 100,000 miles on his bike for the cause.

“The support from the community has been phenomenal,” he said.

His professional highlights include certification in swift water, rope and dive rescues.

The national organization, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, conducts the recognition program at its nearly 2,000 lodges across the country.

Beaver said she started the Hometown Heroes event in 2003, but that the lodge had been honoring first responders intermittently in previous years. She said the program is in line with the Elks’ mission as a fraternal organization focused on serving the community.

Each agency selected its representative on the program, Beaver said. She said the lodge hopes to add a Mohave County Sheriff’s Office employee for next year’s event.

The evening concluded with a poem read from the point-of-view of the U.S. flag.

The chicken dinner was served by members of the Mohave High School girls soccer team.

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