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4 local officers honored

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 1:06 AM
Last updated 2:44 PM
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Four local law enforcement officers were recognized by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday as recipients of the Governor’s Public Safety Award.

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From left: Columbia County Sheriff's Deputy Bobby Atma, State Patrol Trooper Matthew J. MacDonald, Columbia County Sheriff's Lt. Keith E. Cox and Deputy Wes Ward.   Special
From left: Columbia County Sheriff's Deputy Bobby Atma, State Patrol Trooper Matthew J. MacDonald, Columbia County Sheriff's Lt. Keith E. Cox and Deputy Wes Ward.

Columbia County Sheriff’s Lt. Keith E. Cox, Deputies Wes Ward and Bobby Atma and Georgia State Patrol Trooper Matthew J. MacDonald were honored for pulling Joseph Banks, of Dallas, Ga., out of his burning truck on Interstate 20 in June.

At the ceremony at the Georgia Public Safety Training facility in Forsyth, Ga., Deal spoke about how dangerous the job of a public safety officer is, said Wes’ father, Mike Wes. He talked about Atlanta officers Richard J. Halford, 48, and Shawn A. Smiley, 40, who were using a helicopter to search for a missing 9-year-old boy Saturday night when it crashed and they were killed.

The ceremony recognized more than 20 Georgia public safety members, Wes said, from firefighters to a diver from the Department of Natural Resources.

On June 23, the four local officers responded at 1:46 a.m. to an accident on I-20. There, they found a Ford F350 ablaze on the guardrail and Banks about halfway out the driver’s side window. He was caught by his seat belt, and his legs were pinned between the seat and the door.

The officers used a crowbar to free Banks’ legs and cut his seatbelt. The fire department arrived as they were freeing Banks and provided water to tame the flames.

From the Medical College of Georgia Hospi­tal, where he was treated for second-degree burns on his legs and a broken pelvis, Banks recalled the officers rushing toward him despite the growing fire.

“(They ran to me) with complete disregard for their own safety,” Banks said. “All they were worried about was getting me out.”

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OpenCurtain 11/06/12 - 06:44 am
Good people doing great things

It is good to see and read positive LEO stories like this and not just the overexposed and over covered 1 in a 10,000 that screws up.

But few things sell papers now a days and good news even fewer.

The exception being tomorrows Headline

Romney & Sanders WIN /

Thanks AC for a good LEO humanization story.

soapy_725 11/06/12 - 09:09 am
Devil's Advocate

What are these gentlemen paid to do on their shifts? Just asking? Our society is so void of real heroes, that we deem those doing their appointed jobs as heroes.

A none paid passer by who risk life and limb to save another from a fire, yes. A fireman who goes inside a burning building is doing his job. Just like the factory worker who battles chemical fumes or dust to make you trip to Wal-Mart successful. Or the power crew that works in the rain and storm to restore your electricity.

We create non heroes to make ourselves feel better about society. And the person giving the award share in the limelight.

Real heroes are rewarded from within.

tgentry 11/06/12 - 09:29 am
Officers Honored

Its great to see that the officers are honored. However there is only one trooper here and its not Bobby Atma. Bobby works with the CCSO.

my.voice 11/06/12 - 10:23 am
These are awesome men who put

These are awesome men who put it on the line every day for us. Applause applause applause. Here's a big hoo-rah for all of our first responders. America's best.

Sean Moores
Sean Moores 11/06/12 - 03:38 pm

I spoke with Summer and you are correct. I have fixed it now.

Thanks Sweet son for emailing me about this.

Sweet son
Sweet son 11/06/12 - 04:12 pm

You have a hard job trying to manage all of us comment on AC articles and I appreciate the shout out! Glad the article is right now.

Sweet son

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