“My father was a New York City policeman,” Rich Cautero said at the Venice Sunrise Rotary Club’s second annual "Honoring Our Hometown Heroes" dinner. “My dad always said the primary challenge of police officers was to prevent crime.”

A City Council member, Rich was representing the city of Venice at the event.

Venice Police Chief Tom Mattmuller spoke about the two men honored at the dinner: Detective Ben Neff and Firefighter Marty Dietz.

Chief Mattmuller then identified every police officer in the dining room with a few words about their work. Of the group, he said “Their exceptional character distinguishes them.”

Venice Fire Chief Shawn Carvey said Dietz started as a volunteer with the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department, worked his way through the ranks and, when a spot opened up, “jumped at the chance to join the Venice Fire Department.”

Rotary sees itself as an organization that unites people to take action to promote lasting change. In establishing the Hometown Heroes awards, the club honors the first responders who take action at ground level.

Correction

The Feb. 26 article about PEO Chapter GU and the Festival of Holidays stated the event took place at Grace United Methodist Church. It was Christ United Methodist Church.

One of our best

The special person of this week is Dave Aker.

At the Venice Sunrise Rotary Club's second annual Hometown Heroes event, Police Chief Tom Mattmuller told the crowd that Dave had retired from the Venice police force but after the Parkland shooting decided to put the uniform back on with the schools police department and is now a school resource officer at Student Leadership Academy.

David epitomizes the the ideal of a police officer as someone of exceptional character.

Dave serves the community in many ways, even as the former music director at Venice Bible Church.

These days Dave fulfills a life-long dream of playing the saxophone with the Venice Concert Band. Dave played in the band in middle school.

Dave is a role model to seniors and young people. He especially enjoys family time and posting wonderful recipes on Facebook.

Dave is always warm and friendly and an excellent listener. He has a gentle spirit.

Dave Aker is one of the police officers who make Venice a great place to live.

Fran Valencic is the social columnist for the Venice Gondolier Sun. She welcomes your tips and ideas.

Contact her at franvalencic@comcast.net.

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