DURANT, Okla. — The Durant City Council celebrated city staff at a council meeting Tuesday with recognitions for employees’ tenure and a letter form a resident praising the police department.

The council presenting awards to employees with at least five years of service to the city.

These included Jason Carr, Chase Condor and Jeffrey Orlando of the Durant Fire Department; Marty Cook and Aaron Walkup of Community Development; Darrell Jones of Maintenance and Operations; and Lacy Dillingham of the police department.

During the PD report Chief David Houser summarized the department’s past month in a fashion unique to the evening: “I opened a letter from a citizen today. I think it will explain what officers are doing in our community.”

Reading the letter aloud, he told the story of a couple who received assistance from DPD Officer Brian Chavez when they experienced difficulty driving their truck and horse trailer along U.S. Highway 75.

“The right rear tire on (my) truck blew out,” Houser said, reading the letter. “I was unable to hold it together.”

The letter says the couple was in a “panicked situation,” at least until Chavez arrived on the scene. With assistance, the couple managed to safely fix the tire and finish the drive.

“Our hero, Officer Chavez, was so nice and so helpful in our time of crisis. We had so much appreciation for this man and wanted you to know that.”

The letter was signed by the couple, Bob and Cheryl Floriano.

Houser said he believes the anecdote represents what his officers do on a day-to-day basis, aside from the numbers graphed on the handout he gave the council.

“That’s one instance of many,” Houser said.

Another item mentioned in the meeting included an unsolicited $400 donation to the library by the local recycling company Wastequip.

Additionally, the council issued a recommendation to appoint a new Parks and Recreation Committee Advisory Board member to fill the board’s recent vacancy. The council unanimously chose Southeastern Oklahoma State University biology instructor Josie Mendenall.

The next Durant City Council meeting will be held Feb. 7.