We were all shocked by the random act of senseless violence Oct. 23 that ended the life of one of our student soldiers and one of our local deputy sheriffs. There was overwhelming public reaction in expressing sadness for the tragic loss of a dedicated law officer as well as sincere condolences and support for the families involved.
WE RIGHTFULLY talk about the sacrifices of soldiers and their families, especially during times of conflict with repeated deployments and separations. It is important to remember that most of the people who work and go to school here at Fort Gordon actually live off-post. Most of the people on Fort Gordon live in a truly supportive community, one protected by valiant police officers, firefighters and public servants who also sacrifice daily for the greater good.
On Oct. 27 we paid tribute to one of our region’s finest public servants – Deputy James D. Paugh. With so many of our military community within the Central Savannah River Area, we can clearly say that this is our community, and J.D. Paugh was our deputy sheriff and hero. His loss was a tragic loss for us all, military and civilian.
J.D. Paugh protected our community with his life on the line for more than 17 years, working with our military police detachment for many of those years. Our MPs knew him well, and remember him as someone who would selflessly help anyone at any time. He was never off-duty.
QUITE A FEW of the local police force are Army Reservists, National Guardsmen and former soldiers who have served at Fort Gordon. Every MP I have spoken with sees J.D Paugh as a fallen comrade and lost brother.
As we all know, it takes a very special individual to be a soldier. It takes an equally special person to be a police officer. Both selflessly place themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis to serve and protect our community and our nation. J.D Paugh served Fort Gordon and the community so very well and laid down his life for all of us. For that, he should never be forgotten.
To best honor his memory, we should pause to remember all those, such as J.D. Paugh, who serve our community so selflessly and so courageously. I ask, whenever you are off-post, to please take a moment to thank all of those in the community who risk their lives for us on a daily basis. Do so, just as so many of our neighbors thank our military personnel for their service.
ALSO THANK the leadership of the community in which we live. Recently, I have witnessed Fort Gordon and our neighboring community come together, closer than ever, when tragedy struck. I have never been prouder of our Fort Gordon community or of our countless friends throughout the CSRA.
Finally, I ask that you continue to keep the Hodges and Paugh families in your thoughts and prayers. God’s blessings to them and to each of you as we come together as one family in support.
For those who desire to assist the family, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made either to the J.D Paugh Memorial Fund, c/o First Bank of Georgia, 3820 Washington Road, Martinez, GA, 30907; or at any branch of First Bank of Georgia.
(The writer is commanding general of the U.S. Army Signal Center of Excellence; the Chief of Signal for the U.S. Army Signal Corps; and the senior mission commander for Fort Gordon.)