Several local law enforcement and public safety officers were recognized Thursday night, but Bulloch County Sheriff’s Lt. Tracy Miller took top honors, named as the first recipient of the Bulloch County Public Servant Outstanding Service Award.
For decades, local businesses and individuals have shown appreciation for public safety officers by hosting annual dinners, but this year was the first time awards were presented, said organizer Bird Hodges.
The tribute to EMTs, firefighters and law enforcement officers began in 1977 and ran through 1988, Hodges said. The event was revived in 2015 by several local businesses, civic organizations and individuals
Each agency – Statesboro Fire Department, Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Bulloch County EMS, Statesboro Police Department and the Bulloch County Fire Department – submitted nominees chosen by peers for exemplifying outstanding public service,
The Bulloch County Public Servant Committee, comprised of several members of the community, chose Miller for the top award.
“I’m not known to be at a loss for words,:” he said after a standing ovation followed the announcement. “This is a surprise. I thank the sheriff for having confidence in me. Everything I did I had good people there with me.”
When Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown announced Miller as his department’s nominee, he told the group attending the dinner about at least three incidents when Miller saved lives. One call involved a a man trapped by a semi that had fallen off a jack; another call concerned a man pinned by a backhoe deep in some woods, and a third incident was when Miller pulled wreckage off tornado victims.
Miller’s name was placed on a plaque that will be displayed in the new Law Enforcement/Firefighter training center on Hwy. 301 North, said Charles Sikes, former GBI special agent who announced the award.
“People are fortunate to have such public servants,” he said. “And one thing they all have in common is they run towards danger.” He also reminded the officers of the value fo having such a supportive community as Bulloch County.
Other nominees were: Officer Andrew Samples, Statesboro Police; Chief Deputy Bobby Duggar, Statesboro Fire; Deputy Director Brian Hendrix, Bulloch County Fire; Trooper First-Class Jamey Holloway, Georgia State Patrol Post 45; EMT Corey Kemp, Bulloch County EMS; and Special Agent Tracy Sands, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 5.
Others were recognized during the evening as well. Posthumous honors were expressed in memory of former Statesboro Police veteran dispatcher Joan Stringer; former Bulloch County EMS director Randy Turner; Georgia Southern University Police Sgt. Walter MCGlamery; former Statesboro Police APO Ian Huggins and former Statesboro Fire Deputy Chief Ronnie Shaw.
Officers recognized for serving in the military were Statesboro police officers Thad Wehner and Skyler Beckum; GSU Police officers Sam Derr, Ryan McBride and Andrew Sherrod; Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputies Matthew McBride and Cole Carter; and Bulloch County EMT Chris Alvarez.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at 912-489-9414.