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Much-admired volunteer dies

A much-admired Crawford County dispatcher and emergency services volunteer has died.

Steve Gann, chief communications officer for the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, died Monday night. Gann was diagnosed with liver cancer in February.

A memorial will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Crawford County Emergency Operations Center at 1820 Chestnut S. in Van Buren.

Gann did much to promote the emergency services in the county, serving in a number of volunteer positions such as chief deputy of the Crawford County Department of Emergency Management, president of Crawford County Search and Rescue and the coordinator of the Crawford County Storm Spotters.

He was known for his strong work ethic and dedication, often working volunteer hours before and after his shifts with the sheriff’s department and in his free time.

Gann worked for more than 30 years in emergency services as a volunteer firefighter and dispatcher in both Fort Smith and Van Buren. He was licensed and certified in numerous related areas and had taken uncounted training courses to improve his knowledge and ability to serve.

He was also recognized for a number of achievements including Professionalism and Devotion to Duty from the Fort Smith fire chief in 1991, 2009 Crawford County Sheriff’s Department Supervisor of the Year and a Distinguished Service Award in 2012 for his actions as dispatcher during the Crawford County Courthouse shooting.

During a recent fundraiser to help pay for Gann’s medical bills, proclamations were read from Crawford County Judge John Hall and Van Buren Mayor Bob Freeman, announcing April 12 as Steve Gann Day and recognizing his contributions to the community.

A letter from Governor Mike Beebe also was read, in which he called Gann “a consummate professional and a dedicated public servant.”

An excerpt from the letter reads:

“Steven has responsibly safeguarded his community, put the welfare of others above his own and proven to be responsive in a crisis. His friends, admirers, fellow firefighters and law enforcement officers owe a huge debt of gratitude to Steven for his willingness to provide courageous service and his regard for the safety of those in his care.”

Ocker Funeral Home will be handling the funeral.

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