VFW honors local public servants in Bay Minette


BAY MINETTE, Alabama — The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3568 honored three individuals with awards for their outstanding service to our community.

VFW representatives Frazier Martin and Vince Belluci presented awards to Caden Bozeman, Firefighter of the Year; Ronnie Saladin, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year; and Michael Purvis, EMT of the Year.

The honorees were presented certificates of appreciation and a monetary award at a recent meeting of the Bay Minette City Council.

Each year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars selects emergency medical technicians, law enforcement and firefighter personnel to receive the VFW Public Service Awards. Local winners then advance to the next level of recognition.

Congratulations to these deserving public servants.

Officer Ronald Saladin earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 2009 and was honorably discharged in 2014. While serving in the Armed Forces, he became a Maritime Enforcement Specialist and attended the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Charleston, South Carolina. After discharge, he attended the Montgomery Police Academy and worked for UAB Police Department for two years before coming to Bay Minette Police Department. He now serves as the School Resource Officer at Bay Minette Elementary School. He was selected as the City of Bay Minette “Employee of the Year” for 2018.

Police Chief Al Tolbert said Saladin had made a big impact in a short amount of time. Soon after the start of the school year, Officer Saladin befriended a student with a skin diadisease that prevented him from playing outside during recess. Saladin purchased the student his own police attire and invited him to accompany him on daily rounds.

Tolbert said the act of kind has been a transformative moment for the young student. “(The student’s) mother mentioned to me on several occasions that Officer Saladin has changed his life forever,” Tolbert said.

Saladin has also offered assistances to faculty members at the school and serves as a firearm instructor for the BMPD. “Officer Saladin is a community servant who has made a tremendous impact on our students and is a great asset to the City of Bay Minette.”

Bozeman began his career at the age of 15 as part of the Explorer program with the Fairhope Volunteer Fire Department. He received multiple certifications during his seven years as a volunteer firefighter. He joined the Bay Minette Fire Department in 2016 and is now also certified as an EMT. He continues to volunteer with the Pine Grove and Fairhope Volunteer Fire Departments.

“Caden is an avid student and teacher,” said Fire Chief Mike Minchew. Bozeman continues to go above the call of duty and has responded to 750 calls since joining the Bay Minette department. “Caden is a dedicated member who works hard and can be counted on when needs arise.”

Purvis started his Fire Service career as an Explorer Firefighter with Garland, Texas when he was 15-years old. After moving to Baldwin County, he continued with Magnolia Springs VFD and later became a Career Firefighter at Semmes Fire Department. During his tenure with Semmes, he completed his Career Firefighter certification and EMT training. He joined the Bay Minette Fire Department in 2017 and continues to work, train and teach at Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department.

“Purvis Responds with compassion and empathy toward each person that calls for help,” Minchew said. “He has shown to go above and beyond for anyone in need that is in his care. He has responded to 465 calls for assistance to the citizens of Bay Minette in just over a year as a career member of our department.”