Courtesy photo
Nichole Baldwin, Lowell Sommervold, C. Michael Ray and Maria Blanco at a banquet honoring law enforcement at the Elks Lodge in Ely last week.

The Elks Lodge #1469 in Ely honored all active and retired law enforcement officials at a special banquet Jan. 24.

As reported in the Ely Times, “With the help of KGHM Robinson Mine, the Elks were able to put on a dinner and short program honoring law enforcement as a profession. Agency heads in attendance were Sheriff Scott Henriod, Sgt. Chris Brewer, Warden William Gitterre and Jose Noriega from the Forest Service.”

Officers chosen to receive recognition as Officer of the Year in their respective agencies were Deputy Lowell Sommervold from the White Pine County Sheriff’s Office, Detective C. Michael Ray from the Eastern Nevada Drug Task Force and Senior Correctional Officer Maria Blanco from the Department of Corrections.

Ray told the Record in a later phone interview he did not know what the criteria was for being selected, “Just other than my sergeant [Chris Brewer] nominated me.”

Ray has been a detective with the drug task force [covering White Pine, Lincoln and Eureka counties] since 2009, “doing major crime and narcotics interdiction on the highway.”

Receiving the award was “a real honor,” Ray thought. He said, “The things we do in Lincoln County directly affect the rest of the state, specifically White Pine County.”

U.S. 93 is a known major route for drug traffickers and Ray said, “Quite a lot of it coming up from the south is headed primarily for Ely. It’s a major corridor for that, north to south and vice versa.”

In his remarks at the banquet, Sgt. Brewer noted Ray has done a lot of work to keep drugs from reaching Ely, even though he is a Lincoln County deputy.

Ray said, “The drug task force does what it can to limit the amount of drugs passing along the highway,” but he still feels that such traffic is increasing, “in particular the rise of heroin over the years. Las Vegas is a source city, where people go to get their narcotics to bring it back up north to Idaho, Washington and Oregon.”

Decorations and entertainment for the evening’s ceremonies were provided by the White Pine County School District. Donations came from KGHM Robinson Mine, Bath Lumber, Sportsworld, Gale Oil and Tire, Margarita’s Restaurant, Nardi’s Family Restaurant, All Aboard Restaurant, Sahara Motors, C.A.L. Ranch, White Pine Chamber of Commerce and Commissioner Laurie L. Carson. The White Pine Rodeo Club also helped during the evening.