The Rotary Club of Blacksburg has awarded its 2021 First Responder of the Year award to Chief Anthony Wilson of the Blacksburg Police Department.
The presentation was held during the club’s lunch meeting on March 24 at the Blacksburg Country Club.
Chief Wilson is a Blacksburg native, a Virginia Tech graduate, and a former U.S. Marine. He began his career as a Blacksburg Police Officer in 1997 and was named Chief of Police in 2014. He is also a 30-year member of the fire department.
In the course of his career with the police department, Chief Wilson has served as a patrol field training officer, a criminal investigator, an investigative unit supervisor, a tactical team operator/commander, a patrol unit commander, and a division commander. While his focus as police chief is the Blacksburg community and especially VT students, his reach of service extends far beyond basic police work. He initiated the Adopt-a-Cop program, a partnership between the police department and VT fraternities. He worked with New River Community College to establish a Books to Badges program that became the basis for the ACCE program. He is involved with the county’s Dialogue on Race initiative and co-chaired the NRV Public Health Task Force for the last two years.
He created the training triangle program to train young police officers on the tenets of tactical ability, advanced communications, de-escalation skills, and the spiritual connection to service and psychological wellness. He also encouraged the Fifth Grade Field Day program, introducing all fifth-grade classes to one another as they readied for middle school transition.
The Rotary Club of Blacksburg established the First Responder of the Year award in 2017 to recognize, honor, and show respect for Montgomery County’s first responders who give so much of their time to protect their communities. Award recipients exemplify sacrifice, courage, and dedication to service. The club will make a $500 donation in Chief Wilson’s name to the charity of his choice.
Past recipients of the award are Danny R. Yopp, Christiansburg Volunteer Fire Department (2017); Wendell R. Flinchum, Virginia Tech Police Department (2018); Neal Turner, Montgomery County Emergency Services Coordinator; Michael T Linkous, Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department (2019); and Kelly B. Walters, Christiansburg Rescue Squad (2020).
Rotary International is a humanitarian service organization that brings together business, professional, and non-profit leaders, along with retired individuals to provide community service, promote integrity, and advance goodwill, peace, and understanding in the world. It is a non-political and non-religious organization.
The Rotary Club of Blacksburg is one of six Rotary clubs in the New River Valley.