The Killeen Exchange Club named its Killeen Police Officer and Firefighter of the Year on Monday.

The civic club gave awards to Killeen police officer Phil Grey and firefighter Darren R. Morphis. Both were nominated by co-workers for the annual award.

Grey is a 15-year veteran of the Killeen Police Department’s Patrol Division. Assistant Chief Larry Longwell praised Grey during the club’s meeting at Yank Sing restaurant, noting Grey’s commitment to the Patrol Division.

“We’re just fortunate to have him, and I think it was a good choice for the Exchange Club to recognize him,” Longwell said.

Fellow patrol officer Bobby Castillo, whom Grey trained, noted in his written nomination that many officers move on to other divisions after a few years in patrol. His experience also has made him an informal leader in the patrol division, taking on interim sergeant duties when necessary.

“I find this quite humbling,” Grey said. “I really appreciate it, but you have to remember it is not just me, it is the whole team.”

Firefighter of the Year

Morphis made similar comments in accepting his award for Exchange Club Firefighter of the Year, telling the members of the civic club their appreciation boosts the morale of the entire fire department.

“I just wanted to be the best firefighter I could be and make my community better,” Morphis said. “I realized I can’t do it on my own.”

Fire Chief Jerry Gardner noted Morphis’ near immediate immersion into flood rescue when he was hired in 2007. He worked on the swift boat rescue team as the department created it following deadly floods in 2007. Since then, Morphis helped save the lives of people swept away by flooding in 2011. Morphis’ efforts earned him the Killeen Fire Department’s Medal of Valor and Texas Fire Chiefs’ Valor Award in 2012.

The Exchange Club awards Police Officer and Firefighter of the Year annually. The club also honors Harker Heights’ police officers and firefighters. At the club’s Oct. 21 meeting, a police officer will discuss local scams.

Contact Philip Jankowski at philipj@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.

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