For valor shown during the rescue of a man trapped in a grain silo earlier this year, four local firefighters were honored Tuesday by the Statesboro Public Safety Department and Statesboro City Council.
In a meeting at City Hall, medals were presented to Statesboro Fire Department Division Chief Scott Ard, Battalion Chief Jason Baker, Bulloch County Fire Department firefighter Tyler Thompson and Bulloch County Rescuer Derrel Colson for their roles in an hours-long rescue effort to save a man’s life.
The rescue took place on Feb. 14 near Bulloch County’s southern edge — on a farm off Georgia Highway 46, near Jadith Deloach and Red Hill Church roads.
Workers labored throughout the evening to free the man who had fallen into a grain silo and become engulfed by pounds of shifting soybeans.
The Statesboro Fire Department, Bulloch County Fire Department and Bulloch County Rescue responded to the call, and through various procedures — using shovels to dig out beans, cutting holes in the silo to release beans and pressure, and implementing ropes and pulleys to winch the victim from a 40-foot-tall, nearly-full bin — were able to free the fallen farmer.
“Numerous fire, police and rescue personnel worked diligently, for hours, to free the man from that grain bin. While all of the members of public safety played a critical role in the successful rescue on that day, four men went above and beyond their normal duties,” Statesboro Fire Chief Tim Grams said. “We are extremely proud of these men. These men are a testament to what we stand for, and what we want do for citizens during their great time of need.”
Ard and Baker were presented with Statesboro Fire Department Medals of Honor — the highest honor awarded to any member within the department; given to firefighters, who under life-threatening conditions, perform in a manner that is considered above and beyond the call of duty, to protect or save a life, according to Grams.
Colson and Thompson were awarded Statesboro Public Safety Medals of Honor — the equivalent of the SFD Medal of Honor, but given to members of other public safety organizations.
The four men were greeted with a standing ovation by members of City Council and citizens in attendance.
Grams used the opportunity to laud the efforts of all public safety officials in Bulloch County, and the cooperation shown among groups.
“I would like to say a ‘thank you’ for all of the members of public safety organizations that were involved that day,” he said. “I would also like to express my pride and gratitude in knowing that I live and work in a county where the public safety community can come together for a single purpose, and do so in such an efficient and professional manner.”
Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.