City of Roseville Police and Fire Department Heroes Banquet 2024

Event held at Timber Creek Ballroom

Roseville, Calif- It was only a couple of years ago that we heard about the Human Ummah Foundation (HUF) here in the Greater Sacramento region and were introduced to its driving force Junaid Khan. And what we discovered was that HUF does things a little differently and primarily strives to promote Muslim inclusivity into the American social mainstream.

Junaid has since relocated out of state with his family but had mentioned to a small team here that he wanted to duplicate a similar effort which was carried out in Elk Grove last year, in Roseville. For this he found a great deal of support within our community. And thanks to Public Information Officers Jaime Garrett from Roseville Fire and Emergency Preparedness, and Lt. Christopher Ciampa of the Roseville Police the almost 12 months of effort and planning paid off with the holding of a City of Roseville Police and Fire Department Heroes Banquet 2024 at Timber Creek Ballroom in Placer County on June 8, 2024.

From within the area Muslim community this effort was supported by sponsors Sharif Jewelers, Dr. Salwa Hussain, Dr. Asim Mahmood & Ahsan Qadeer. Professor Ayad Al-Qazzaz of Sacramento State, Dr. Ehsan Hadi, and Arshad Alvi of The Citizens Foundation. Along with them a host of volunteers made it all possible including Durriya Syed, Laila Sheikh, Noor Abedin, Noor Arafa, Samran Khan and Sardar Habib. And this list is surely not complete. HUF at this banquet also chose to honor the community services of Professor Al-Qazzaz, Mahmud Sharif, Dr. Sadiah Iqbal, Basim Elkarra and Dr. Musarrat Maqbool.

The event

composite of speakers

The event started off with some pre-activity, a Roseville Police and Fire Department Station Vehicle/Equipment Fair in the parking lot where the attendees were able to inspect a bright fire truck and a formidable police car. This was followed by a social hour in the lobby where a great deal of information exchange took place. Amongst the elected dignitaries present at the event was City Councilmember Scott Alvord.
The formalities started with an introduction to the program and an appreciation of our heroes by Noor Abedin and a short invocation by Mohammad Taha Rezai. And on a patriotic note, the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Munizeh Raza. And this was followed by a combined/dual presentation of colors by both the Roseville Police Department and Firefighters Honor Guard.

Event emcee for the evening Dr. Salwa Hussain did a remarkable job here along with other community award announcers Khydeeja Alam, Zaki Syed, Asif Haq, Dr. Asim Mahmood, Mohammad Sharif, Najme Minhaj and Durriya Syed. Dr. Salwa asked for a moment of silence for the innocent victims of violence worldwide. She next also took the opportunity to read out a list of dignitaries present at this event.

Keynote speaker

The first person invited to the stage was keynote speaker Imam M.A. Azeez of the Tarbiya Institute (Roseville), the largest Muslim congregation in Placer County.

Imam Azeez was in a pensive mood during his delivery here. He said that we complain a lot about everything when instead we need to appreciate and show gratitude. He quoted the Prophet’s statement on the sanctity of life. He added that first responders are in line with that thought and remind him of what it means to be a good follower of the faith, by putting their own lives on the line to save the lives of others.

Congressman Kevin Kiley

Congressman Kevin Kiley in his short address said that he was honored to be here along with his wife Chelsee, and that his offices are always open to serve the community. He said that to him the support for our first responders was of paramount importance and he commended HUF for recognizing that. Kiley added that the support that we rely on when we are faced with crime, or an emergency, doesn’t just happen by itself. It relies on the men and women who are willing to risk their life and limb for the safety of others. And he thanked them for all that they did to keep our community safe. The Congressman also hoped that events such as this one would encourage young people to join the first responder community.

Roseville mayor

Roseville’s Mayor Bruce Houdesheldt in his speech added words of support and stressed the importance of community. He mentioned that earlier in the day he had attended the Pakistani American Cultural Festival and appreciated the fact that we are a connected community here. He said that he had learnt at the festival that Pakistan had the second tallest mountain and that it recently lost to Team USA in the Cricket World Cup. So, Pakistani Americans can say that they lost to themselves! Bruce also thanked the local first responders and this community for its many contributions.

attendees  sitting at banquet

Police Captain & Fire Chief

The next two speakers were Roseville Police Captain Douglas A. Blake and Fire Chief Rick Bartee. Both expressed their appreciation on the holding of his event and of the men and women being honored here from their respective departments.

But just before the awards the main person behind this Heroes Banquet, Junaid Khan, said a few words. Junaid is literally a man of very few words when speaking on stage, but his efforts speak out for him instead. With his supportive wife Dr. Saima Chohan Junaid has been instrumental in giving back to America, his adopted land in unique ways, and in that role, he has taken other predominantly Muslim Pakistani Americans to participate in the HUF quest.

Junaid thanked everyone for attending, all the volunteers for their help, and gave a brief background of HUF, its incubation in the Los Angeles are a and its work. He also pointed out that the attendees here are encouraged to donate funds to the Roseville Public Safety Foundation.

The main reason for everyone being here was next. Several individuals from amongst the Roseville Police and Fire Department, our heroes, were honored here. They were Battalion Chief Jamie Pepin, Dispatcher Alex Tarr, EMS Coordinator Rochelle Gregory, Engineer Zac Graydon, Officers Hollie Ratliff, Michael Campbell, George Turkov, Samarjit Rai, Jacob Horton and Shannon Rauls, and Sergeant David Tuggle. The Roseville Customer Service: Fire & Life Safety Division led by Division Chief Michael Bradley also received a team award. Congratulations to all of them.

Ras Siddiqui, Guest Contributor

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