DIXON – Mark Dallas is running out of room to display his awards.
The Dixon High School resource officer was named the 2018 Citizen of the Year on Friday at the Best of Dixon awards ceremony hosted by the Dixon Chamber of Commerce and Main Street, and sponsored by The Telegraph.
“This is very special to me – probably more than anyone will ever know,” Dallas said.
He has been credited as a hero on the local, state and national level for thwarting a shooter who opened fire May 16 at Dixon High School.
Senior Matthew A. Milby Jr. allegedly took a 9 mm semi-automatic rifle to graduation practice that morning, fired at a gym teacher in a hallway and took off running seconds later when confronted and pursued by Dallas.
Milby, 19, is said to have fired at Dallas outside while fleeing from the school; Dallas returned fire, hitting Milby in the upper shoulder and hip. Milby was arrested near his car in Page Park. No one else was injured.
“I’m glad I was there the day we had our trial by fire,” he said.
Since then, Dallas has been awash in awards, recognitions and special appearances.
Earlier last week, he was awarded the Medal of Valor by the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association in Peoria, and he was U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s special guest at President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in Washington, D.C.
Trump praised Dallas in October, when he was named the 2018 Officer of the Year by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and former Gov. Bruce Rauner proclaimed
May 30, 2018, Officer Mark Dallas Day.
Dallas also was an honorary captain for a Bears game in September and received city, state and national government commendations during the past several months.
In June, he was honored as Hero of the Year and Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the Lee County Voiture 409.
Dallas, 50, has about 24 years of experience in law enforcement, and this is his fifth year as the high school resource officer. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two children, Joshua and Lauren.