Deputies honored for saving lives
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Two Coweta County deputies were honored for their lifesaving actions by the Coweta County Board of Commissioners Tuesday night.
Proclamations commending Deputy Jason Ross and Corp. Phillip Burkett were read at Tuesday’s commission meeting.
Burkett, a school resource officer assigned to Lee Middle School, was having lunch with fellow SROs at Cracker Barrel restaurant in Newnan about a month ago when a woman nearby started choking. The woman’s husband started to get frantic and asked if anyone knew the Heimlich maneuver.
Burkett did and performed it on the woman, who then started breathing on her own.
“He stayed calm through the whole thing,” said Yeager. “He now proudly wears the lifesaving ribbon on his uniform.”
Deputy Jason Ross helped pull an injured woman from her burning car following a crash on Lower Fayetteville Road on Sept. 10, 2011.
Ross has been honored several times already for his heroism, with more honors to come.
Ross was named the Deputy Sheriff of the Year by the Georgia Sheriff’s Association and was named Georgia Officer of the Year for Valor by the Peace Officers Association of Georgia, said Yeager.
On Nov. 5, Ross will be recognized by Gov. Nathan Deal and presented with the Governor’s Public Safety Award.
The actions of Burkett and Ross “epitomize what we do here,” Yeager said.
Ross was on patrol when he came upon the head-on collision. The occupant of one vehicle was already out, but the young lady was trapped and a fire had already started. The entire rescue was caught on Ross’ dashboard camera.
Ross first tried to put the fire out with his fire extinguisher. “He exhausted his fire extinguisher,” Yeager said. “You can hear him talking to the young lady, trying to keep her calm,” Yeager said. “She was basically on fire.”
With the help of a passerby, who has never been publicly identified, Ross was able to get the woman out of the car and out of harm’s way. The woman has now recovered from her injuries, Yeager said.
An edited version of the video from the dash cam can be viewed on the sheriff’s office website, said Yeager.
“You can download it and you can see this for yourself,” Yeager said.
The video may be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zw9rftvLYNg .
The next day, after rescuing the woman, Ross was with the honor guard at the Sept. 11 ceremony. The skin on his face was red as if he had received a serious sunburn — but it was from being close to the flames, noted Yeager.
“Anyone who has not seen the video should do so,” said Commissioner Tim Lassetter. “He was so calm throughout the whole ordeal,” Lassetter said. “That amazed me as much as anything else,” he said.
“I don’t know how you did it, quite honestly. To have individuals like you two gentlemen, and many others, who every day put your life at risk for those of us who live in this county ... I just appreciate it,” Lassetter said. “I just personally wanted to thank both of you for what you did.”
“Each and every one of your people are special to us, sheriff,” said Commissioner Bob Blackburn. “I’d put them up against anybody, anywhere, anytime.”