County’s finest honored by Greater Shelby Chamber

Published 4:55 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Citizens of Winnsboro, La., don’t fund the payroll that compensates Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Dixon.

However, they are certainly glad we in Shelby County do.

Dixon and 10 others were honored Sept. 30 at the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce luncheon as this year’s Public Safety Award winners.

Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry, in introducing Dixon as his department’s Officer of the year, said on June 4, Dixon and his family were at a family reunion in Winnsboro when a relative noticed something suspicious at the bottom of the swimming pool. Dixon’s relative, Christina, couldn’t make out what it was, so she asked Dixon’s son, Derek Jr., to swim down and see.

At the bottom of the pool, Derek Jr. found Patrick Peters, age 4.

When Peters was pulled from the water, Curry said relatives described him as “the baby was dead. His eyes were rolled back in his head and his lips were blue.”

Dixon quickly took charge of the situation. He began CPR and instructed others to call 9-1-1.

“Everyone was hysterical, but Dixon was calm and resolute,” Curry said.

Peters was treated and released from St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, La., two days later, thanks to the training, experience and strong will of Dixon, Curry said.

“Less than 24 hours ago, I was in Opelika at the funeral of a deputy who was killed during a routine traffic stop,” Curry said. “It’s a busy world and public safety people are busy people. A public safety officer’s experience applies 24/7, and it doesn’t have to be in your hometown or county. You pay public safety officers for what they might have to do and what they know.”

Also honored Sept. 30 were officers and firefighters Alabaster, Calera, Helena, Pelham and the North Shelby Fire and EMS district. They include:

City of Alabaster Police Officer of the Year Daniel Goodwin.

City of Calera Police Officer of the Year Brian Krukowski.

City of Helena Police Officer of the Year Chris Rollan.

City of Pelham Police Officer of the Year Mike Bellanca.

City of Alabaster Firefighter of the Year, the recently-retired Battalion Chief Eddie Harris.

City of Helena Firefighter of the Year Jack Clark.

City of Pelham Firefighter of the Year Thomas O. Nails.

Town of Westover Firefighters of the Year Jeff Muzer and Jerry I. Payne.

North Shelby Fire and EMS District Firefighter of the Year Daniel Flurry.