Saturday, August 8, 2020
Detective Joel Hunt stands with Police Chief Keith Hiller. Hiller commended Hunt for his work, especially in regards to keeping children in the community safe from internet crimes.

Officer of the Year recognized

The boys in blue got a special round of applause last week at the Owatonna Police Officer of the Year Recognition Banquet.

The annual event is sponsored by the Moonlighter’s Exchange Club of Owatonna and was held at the Owatonna VFW hall. Over 100 people were in attendance on May 11 to congratulate Detective Joel Hunt for being named Officer of the Year.

Hunt has been a member of the Owatonna police force for eleven years. An Owatonna native, he graduated from the high school in 2002 and attended Alexandria Technical College for a degree in Law Enforcement before returning home to serve.

Police Chief Hiller briefly addressed the crowd. He commended all of the men on his force for their diligent service to the community. He was especially proud of the work completed by Hunt.

“What is Joel all about?,” said Hiller, “Honesty. Integrity. Trust.”

Exchange Club president Ben Cass and President-Elect Deb Eby presented the Officer of the Year plaque and pin to Hunt.

After receiving them, Hunt reluctantly came forward to speak. He noted that he and his fellow officers don’t do the work they do hoping to receive recognition, but they’re always grateful to have the support of the community.

He thanked his wife, Holly, for all her support. Her father was a firefighter, and she grew up understanding the demands that service can put on a family. He also thanked his newborn daughter for coming when she did. He joked if she’d been born a week later, he would have had to miss the banquet.

The evening closed with all present reciting the Exchange Club’s Covenant of Service and promising “to honor and respect the law, to serve my fellowmen and to uphold the ideals and institutions of my country.”

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