McLean District Master Police Officer John Alford came across a pile of branches and leaves blocking a blind curve on Wolftrap Road after a heavy storm last August.
He got of his car, chainsaw in hand, and started clearing the road. Drivers making the curve would not have seen the branches until it was too late to stop.
Alford wanted to prevent an accident – even if that meant risking his life.
T.R. Cook, president of the Great Falls Optimist Club, saw Alford hard at work. he even took pictures. Last week, the Great Falls club named Alford, the Citizen of the Month.
“What he did touched my heart,” Cook said. “We really appreciate his service to us, to the community.”
An 18-year veteran of the Fairfax County Police Department, Alford has worked the last two years in McLean. He was previously assigned to the county’s motor squad and the Mount Vernon district.
This award encourages him to continue to do the job he dearly loves, Alford said.
“We know we’re in a fishbowl, but this award is eye-opening,” Alford said. “I didn’t know that we were really looked upon and recognized for our job.”
McLean District Police Commander Capt. Dan Janickey praised Alford’s work. He said Alford is highly respected within McLean’s police force and other officers try to emulate him.
“We are very proud of John,” Janickey said. “The work of our officers sometimes goes unnoticed. So, this award does go a long way.”
Alford said he was surprised when told he would be honored for his work. He noted that he isn’t the most beloved member of McLean’s police force among county drivers – he holds the record for the most traffic tickets written in the district. He's assigned to traffic enforcement.
“We are the guys that people don’t like,” Alford said.
Capt. Janickey: “The good side to this (Alford's duties): He understands that it is important to educate a younger generation,” Janickey told the audience during Thursday’s ceremony in Great Falls. “He’s always explaining to others why they can or cannot do something. He’s always going that extra mile.”