The Legionnaires of American Legion Clovis Post 147 gathered last week not only to celebrate the 97th birthday of the federally chartered corporation, but to also honor the city’s police officer and firefighter of the year.
More than 100 attendees filled a ballroom in Clovis Veterans Memorial District on March 9 for the corned beef and cabbage dinner and award ceremony.
Firefighter of the Year
Retired Fresno Fire Captain Robert Peluso introduced Clovis Firefighter of the Year, Brian Cox.
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Born and raised in Clovis, Cox graduated from Clovis West in 1982. He earned an A.S. degree in fire science from Fresno City College and was hired as a reserve firefighter with the City of Clovis.
After attending the fire academy in Madera, Cox became a firefighter for the City of Merced in 1987 and the City of Clovis in 1989.
Cox was promoted to fire engineer in 2000 and won his first Firefighter of the Year award. He went on to save the Clovis Fire Department more than $1 million by negotiating the largest purchase of self-contained breathing apparatuses in U.S. history, Peluso said.
Fill the Boot, Cash for ‘Stache and the Champ Camp Chili Cook Off are just some of the many fundraising events in which Cox has been involved. He also assists with department functions such as the annual open house and retiree luncheon.
Police Officer of the Year
Officer Giuseppe Chiaramonte joined the Clovis Police Department less than two years ago, but has quickly become “a great example of what Clovis PD is,” according to a note from his peers read by American Legionnaire and former Sanger Police officer Anthony Guerrero.
Chiaramonte was born and raised in Santa Cruz and played for the Fresno State Bulldogs baseball team. He was drafted into Major League Baseball in 1997 and played for the San Francisco Giants until 2002.
After owning a small business for five years after his baseball career ended, Chiaramonte served as a Santa Cruz Sheriff’s deputy from 2008 to 2014. He transferred to Clovis PD and has learned the name of everyone in his beat, Guerrero said.
“This award means a lot to me,” Chiaramonte said. “To represent Clovis PD is quite a unique opportunity. Anthony (Guerrero) has told me many times what an honor it is to be here in the Clovis community, and I now experience it on a daily basis.”
Legionnaire of the Year
American Legion Post 147 Commander Alan Fry presented the Legionnaire of the Year award to member Jim Pacini, who has reinstituted a fundraising golf tournament in recent years and masterminded the organization’s corn dog sales at the Clovis Rodeo.
“He’s not selfish about anything,” Fry said. “He’s been a real asset to the American Legion.”