Sgt. Chris Jacques and officer Jody Musselwhite had responded to a crash on Lang Street and found the driver ejected and underneath his vehicle.
Smoke and fire were coming from the vehicle, which had landed over a ditch line.
Quick response by the officers is credited with saving the crash victim’s life.
Seconds after they engaged themselves in the dangerous scene, removing the driver, the vehicle exploded and burst into flames.
“This is what ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ is all about,” said Cleveland 100 president Brenda Lawson, presenter of the Courtney and Betty McGrady Award, the top honor for local emergency service responders.
“You sprung into action before rescue and EMS could arrive and you saved a life while risking your own. You ran into danger and not away from it. A few seconds could have made the difference between life and death for all three of you,” Lawson added.
The two emergency responders were among the 29 who received honors and recognition for their services to Bradley County and Cleveland, for heroic or distinct actions during 2013. Seven Community Service awards and numerous Certificate of Excellence awards were also presented Thursday at the annual Cleveland 100 banquet and awards ceremony held at Mountain View Inn.
Assistant Commissioner of Tennessee Homeland Security David Purkey, Homeland Security Liaison Chris Gobble, Larry Wallace, former TBI director and now vice president of Tennessee Wesleyan College, state Rep. Kevin Brooks, state Rep. and Sheriff-Elect Eric Watson and state Sen. Mike Bell were among dignitaries in attendance.
Cleveland 100 was established by the late Courtney McGrady and Rowland, to aid families of first responders in the event of loss of life while on duty.
Cleveland 100 board members search for award and recognition recipients each year through advisory board members made up of department heads in the emergency service agencies.
From there, they review documentation of actions taken by responders in law enforcement, 911, fire and rescue agencies, leading up to each year’s awards banquet.
This year’s recipients were involved in rescues, investigations and many other areas of emergency services.
CPD officer Tracy Maxfield was on patrol early one morning when he stopped a vehicle near Cleveland Middle School. The car was carrying four teenagers.
After his shift had ended, Maxfield went home, only to discover later that he had information he would provide to detectives about the traffic stop, resulting in the solving of a burglary that had occurred at the school earlier that morning. The case was quickly solved and $10,000 in property recovered. Maxfield was presented with a Dedicated Professional award and Lt. Robert Harbison and Detective Steve Ross received special citations for their involvement.
Sgt. Jerry Rogers and deputy Sam Long of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office were presented Dedicated Professional awards for rescuing a young skater who had been caught in quickly rising waters from Candies Creek. Long found the boy holding onto a tree. Rogers and Long went into the water to save the boy from imminent danger.
In October 2013, several Cleveland Police officers responded to Lowe’s after a shooter reportedly entered the store searching for an employee he had targeted in a domestic situation.
Sgt. Jeremy Noble aided by officers Lebron Ensley, Anthony Cochran, J.R. Burnette and Patrick Googer, entered the store and were able to talk the suspect into putting his weapon down, ending the situation peacefully.
They were awarded a Dedicated Professional award for their actions, “during a highly dangerous and volatile situation,” said Lawson.
Within that call for help were those in the background of the first line of response.
Bradley County 911 dispatcher Keisha Price managed communication with Cleveland Police and employees inside the store while dispatcher Jill Hysinger managed radio and phone calls for BCSO responders. Dispatcher Andrew Cochran was dispatching for Bradley County Emergency Medical Service and kept it advised of the situation, also locking down that facility due to the proximity of the scene to BCEMS Station One.
911 Supervisor Amy Nave was credited with keeping the team of dispatchers calm and methodical during the incident as it unfolded. 911 Director and Cleveland 100 Vice President Joe Wilson aided Lawson in presenting the dispatchers with Dedicated Professional awards.
A large percentage of emergency response calls involve multiple agencies and their abilities to work together for the common safety of the public.
CPD officers Mike Harris and Jacob Varnell were dispatched July 3, 3013, to the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway, near Raider Drive.
Flooding rains caused Mouse Creek to swell significantly.
“Both officers, at the risk of their own safety, entered the rushing waters to stabilize a situation,” said Lawson.
A man was nearly submerged in the waters of the creek. He was clinging to a tree branch to avoid being swept away.
A second man was also located in the water.
Cleveland Fire Department responders arrived on the scene and began what is known as swiftwater rescue.
Lt. Dennis Duggins and Buddy Ford, Tim McCullen, Tim Hogg, Jerry Vanderoef, Jason Pennell, Josh Ensley, Josh Lavigne and Jeremy Kelly were presented Dedicated Professional awards by CPD Chief David Bishop and CFD Chief Steve Haun, along with Cleveland 100 board members.
Duggins and other members of CFD were also involved in another recognized life-saving effort.
In March, 911 dispatcher Lisa Ruth began giving CPR instructions via phone when an employee of a local business was found unresponsive. CFD responders were dispatched to the scene.
Ruth was presented with a Dedicated Professional award and Duggins and firefighters Josh Duncan and Tim Walker were presented with Citations of Excellence after it was learned “the crew performed calmly, methodically and quickly to deliver patient care to the victim,” making a difference during a life and death situation.
Life-and-death situations can arise from either violent or nonviolent incidents.
CPD officer John Carson was dispatched to a call after a man was reported missing and was feared to have overdosed on his medication.
The weather was cold and the call came in to 911 just before 9 p.m. one evening. Carson searched “a wooded area diligently, and found the man about 1 1/2 hours later.”
Bishop and board member Angie Underwood presented Carson with a Dedicated Professional award for saving the man’s life and “showing dedication to his profession and compassion for another human being’s safety and well-being.”
Some of the simplest things law enforcement officers do can lead to major crimes being solved and violent criminals being taken off the street.
According to the Cleveland 100 board, CPD detectives Eddie Bonnett and Daniel Gibbs began looking for a suspect in a crime who had been involved in a vehicle crash. The suspect was cuffed and placed in a patrol car as an investigation got underway.
During the investigation, the suspect, who was found to be a convicted felon, managed to get through a plexiglass divider in the patrol cruiser, and into the driver’s seat. He stole the cruiser, eventually crashing that car as well, and fled on foot.
Bonnett and Gibbs tracked the suspect through three counties and found him.
The suspect had charges ranging from theft to narcotics violations.
“The two detectives showed tenacity to keep tracking the convicted felon until he was located,” said Lawson, who, along with their chief, presented Gibbs and Bonnett with a Dedicated Professional award.
CPD officer Matthew Landolt was also a recipient of the Dedicated Professional award for his actions during an early morning traffic stop that resulted in the quick solving of a theft.
Landolt had observed a vehicle pulling a trailer. On the trailer was a lawnmower. After further investigation, Landolt was able to determine the mower had been stolen just minutes earlier. Landolt was presented the award by Chief Bishop and board member Janey Patten.
In 2011, a double homicide took the lives of two well-known Cleveland residents.
The lead investigator in the case was BCSO Detective Kevin White.
The process of the investigation and impending legalities in the court system slowed the conclusion of the case. Aaron Dean Lawson was eventually convicted on evidence he had shot and killed Eddie and Debbie Phillips outside their home.
He received two life sentences.
“This case took thousands of man-hours and a team piecing together information to build a strong case, and get a conviction,” said Lawson.
“Today, we honor Detective Kevin White as a Dedicated Professional award winner,” she added.
“In the audience today are the men and women who formed the investigative team that helped put this case in the hands of the jury, and [led to Lawson’s] ultimate conviction,” Rowland explained as he asked the team of investigators to stand and be recognized.
With the bad things that happen in the entire emergency services lines of work, there are also the good moments.
Cleveland 100 also presented Community Service awards to the Delta team at Cleveland Police Department.
According to Lawson, “their story reaches beyond the realm of their dedication to their profession, and reaches into the heart.”
A family had lost their home and possessions in a November fire.
“On Christmas Eve, the team met at CPD and delivered gifts to the home, to be placed under their Christmas tree. When they go there, they noticed a bigger need. The house was void of important furnishings,” Lawson said.
“A baby on the way and three little ones, this family saw a side of law enforcement they never knew and today, we honor the Delta team for their ‘heart of service,” Lawson added.
Lt. Dean Beverly, Sgt. Mark Darnell, Sgt. Daniel Leamon and officers Brett Taylor, Jacob Varnell, Julias Porter and Jody Musselwhite were presented the Community Service awards for their actions.
Special citations for actions were presented to CPD’s SWAT unit, members of the Cleveland Fire Department and Bradley County Emergency Medical Service, Cleveland Police detectives and Bradley County Sheriff’s Office officials, as well as Bradley County Fire-Rescue responders.
BCEMS officials recognized a daughter who helped save her mother’s life on two occasions.
Cleveland 100 officials saw the need to create a new award geared toward recognizing citizens who perform exemplary actions.
Kristi Brewer was the first to receive the Cleveland 100 Citizens Hero Award from the board. Rowland presented her with the award with her mother Joan at her side.