Officers recognized for actions

Published 8:30 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Every year the LaGrange Optimist Club names officers and firefighters of the year from local law enforcement agencies. The annual luncheons are held a week apart — one for the county, one for the city — and are an opportunity to highlight the men and women whose actions are making a difference in our community.

This year, Troup County Firefighter Garon “Rusty” Brown, Troup County Sheriff’s Office deputies Michael Hockett and Anthony Smith, LaGrange firefighter Justin Robinson and LaGrange Police Department Cpl. Craig Wheeler were all honored.

Many of these men were honored for their years of service or for stepping up to the plate in times of need.  There is so much said and written about law enforcement officers, but it feels like most people forget the numerous calls they might find themselves on in a given day. For example, Hockett and Smith were honored for their actions on a medical call on Thanksgiving night, where they saved a man’s life. The man, Ken Hines, was having a heart attack and their quick actions saved his life.

The men were also honored by the American Red Cross earlier this year, where they received a big hug from the entire Hines family.

Officers also handle wrecks, domestic disputes, shoplifters, assaults, shootings and random calls for service — some very random. They could also find themselves in danger at any moment, as three Auburn police officers did this past weekend. A call that started as a domestic disturbance turned into a life-threatening situation, and officer William Buchner lost his life. Two other officers were injured.

Firefighters can find themselves in danger at any moment, too. That shouldn’t take much reminding in LaGrange after last year’s Labor Day fire when six LFD firefighters were injured.

Police officers and firefighters are extremely brave and are willing to go full-speed into potentially dangerous situations, where there’s often a lot of unknown details.  Congratulations to all of the officers honored by the Optimist Club, and thank you for the service you provide in our community.