By: Donna Rouse Butler Zone Chair
Chester County Lions Club
The Chester County Lions Club has long had the tradition of honoring those in our community who work hard to add value by giving freely of their time, effort and energy through volunteerism. LIONS Clubs all over the world have always been about service to others. Building bridges to a better life and building the bridges of equality and understanding through the services we provide to others of all ages – regardless of race, color, creed, sex, national origin or disability.
Our Chester County Club would like to spotlight our men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving others. When most of us are running from danger for fear of our lives – these two heroes are running toward it so that we can be assured safety from harm. This month we are honoring Officer Danielle J. Cook from the Henderson Police Department and Captain Michael L. Welch from the Henderson Fire Department.
Captain Welch was born in Rockledge, Fla., but raised in Memphis. He has a younger brother – Chad Jason Welch – they were raised by their father, Archie M. Welch. Captain Welch graduated from Kirby High School in 1988. He later married a local girl – Charlotte Smith from the Enville area – and a CCHS graduate. He and Charlotte have two children – Perry (age 15) and Elizabeth (13 – soon to be 14).
When asked when he knew he wanted to be a public servant, Captain Welch says his younger brother, who is a Deputy Sherriff in Gainesville, Fla., is the one who truly inspired him to want to serve his community. With that in mind, Captain Welch wanted to serve the community by his work with the Fire Department. Even though he worked for AT&T – he began to volunteer with the Sweetlips Fire Department in 2010/2011.
He then became part time with the Henderson Fire Department in 2015 and then full time in 2017.
When Captain Welch was asked about his greatest accomplishments – he says professionally it would be how far he has come within the Henderson Fire Department with not only his position – but the added responsibilities. He loves that about his job. From a personal perspective – he says it is his family. He is very proud of his family.
For fun, Michael says he likes to ride his motorcycle, spend time with his family and any outdoor activities.
His future plans include continuing his career with the Henderson Fire Department and “retire” there.
When asked what he hopes people will remember about him, Michael says he wants to be remembered as a good father and husband.
Secondly, I am pleased to spotlight Officer Danielle J. Cook from the Henderson Police Department.
Officer Danielle Cook was born and raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and is the oldest of three children. She graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs in 1994. After graduation, she went to work for an insurance company and worked there until 2001. On July 15, 2000 she married Jeremy Cook.
They have six children. (ages 20, 16, 14, 13, 11 and 9) She and her family moved to Milledgeville in 2011 and then to Henderson in 2018. In December of 2018, Officer Cook graduated from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Crime Scene Investigations. Officer Cook just recently completed A.R.I.D.E. (Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement) Training and is looking forward to completing the next step and become a D.R.E. (Drug Recognition Expert).
When asked when she was inspired to become a public servant, Officer Cook says she first took a position at the South Central Correction Facility in Clifton back in 2017.
While there, she quickly realized the long hours of prison work were not for her (especially with a family). She soon got the opportunity to go to work with the Chester County Jail in August of that same year. It was there that she was encouraged by her Sergeant and other officers and deputies to pursue a position in law enforcement outside the jail or prison environments. In Aug. 2018, the Henderson Police Department was lucky enough to recruit her as a City Police Officer.
Officer Cook says she doesn’t really care to be remembered for accomplishments – she wants to be remembered as the person that showed compassion and always dealt honestly and fairly with everyone.
For fun and recreation, Officer Cook says she likes spending time with her family, photography, playing the trumpet and crafting with her kids.
As far as her future aspirations, Officer Cook says she wants to continue to grow as a person and learn more about her profession each day. She plans on staying with the Henderson Police Department.
She aspires to hopefully work in narcotics and work in the canine unit. She says she wants to strive to make a positive impact on her community each day through her service to others.
I am certainly proud and honored to be able to present both Officer Danielle Cook and Captain Michael Welch before the Club and before the public as true hometown heroes who have served us faithfully.
I believe we in Henderson are abundantly blessed to have such fine men and women.
Our hope, faith, and confidence in individuals like Danielle and Michael is well placed and most deserved.