Public Safety award winners honored

One rescued a fellow firefighter after he was trapped under a high pressure water hose. Another organized a charity softball game and raised $14,000 for victims of domestic violence. And the last saved a man who suffered a heart attack on his birthday.

The recipients of this year’s South Augusta Exchange Club’s Annual Public Safety Awards all surpassed expectations to make their communities safer, their supervisors said today at an ceremony held in T’s Restaurant on Mike Padgett Highway.

Standing before the attendees, Richmond County Fire Department Lt. Neal Brown described how award-winner Lt. William Dickerson threw himself on a high pressure hose which was swinging out of control and had injured a coworker. The incident, which occurred as they tried to extinguish a blaze at the 154-year-old Southern Milling Co. Building on Twiggs Street last year, broke the fellow firefighter’s collar bone and leg and would have likely killed him if Lt. Dickerson hadn’t taken action and got the hose under control, Lt. Brown said.

“That’s like diving on a hand grenade as far as I’m concerned,” Lt. Brown said. “Those things will beat you to death.”

Lt. Dickerson said his action was second nature.

“It was a fellow firefighter,” he said. “He was hurt and his life was in danger so I just dived in.”

He will share the honor with firefighter Lt. Robert Morris, who also won for aiding a fellow firefighter who suffered a heart attack. The firefighter, Rick Perry, was on vacation and celebrating his birthday when he went into cardiac arrest. Lt. Dickerson said he had no idea he would be treating a coworker when he was dispatched to Mr. Perry’s home. He was able to stabilize Mr. Perry and get him to the hospital.

Deputy Bill Walker won the award for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Walker helped to organize a charity softball game with North Augusta Public Safety which raised $14,000 for local charities.

“Your family sees what you do everyday but having an outside organization approve of what you do, it’s a good feeling,” Deputy Walker said.

The winners were given a plaque honoring their service and a gift certificate for dinner.

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