Harker Heights Police Officer David Haley, left, and Harker Heights Fire Fighter Jacob Cardona were recognized Monday as "Officers of the Year" for 2013 by the Killeen Exchange Club.

The Exchange Club of Killeen honored two Harker Heights first responders during its first meeting of the new year.

The club met Monday to present Heights police officer Dave Haley and firefighter/paramedic Jacob Cardona with its annual “Officer of the Year” awards.

“It is a very special award for the people who serve our community,” said Lawrence Holly, the club’s president. “Harker Heights is our neighbor, and this is a chance for us to recognize our first responders.”

Each year, two winners are selected by their fellow officers and residents in the community.

Haley, 59, is a 15-year police veteran. He serves as the department’s community service division officer. Haley is active in outreach to local residents, including helping organize National Night Out and working with school children.

“Community service is my perfect home,” Haley said. “We are always looking for ways to get out there and make our community better.”

Cardona, 31, has been with the Harker Heights Fire Department for six years. Jack Collier described Cardona as a hard worker with a positive attitude.

“(Cardona) really exemplifies everything we want to see in a firefighter/paramedic with the city,” Collier said. “Everyone who comes into contact with Jacob respects his professionalism, expertise and skills.”

Cardona said he was honored to receive the award, and thanked his fellow firefighters and paramedics.

“I couldn’t do it without the guys I work with,” Cardona said. “It’s really a team effort.”

Monday marked the 35th year the Exchange Club of Killeen presented the awards.

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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