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Lifesaving honors presented to Madison County Sheriff’s Office deputies

Madison County Sheriff’s Office recently recognized multiple deputies with a Lifesaving award.
Being a first responder can sometimes be a thankless job, but other times, it can mean the difference between someone’s life or death. Madison County Sheriff Ron Ball understands all too well what these men and women can go through and decided to acknowledge their efforts with a Lifesaving award.
Deputy Cameron Stanford saved a student from choking in the lunchroom at Sugar Salem Junior High, Deputy Jared Newell performed CPR for a baby in Sugar City and Lieutenant John Virgin — along with several other deputies and EMS workers — responded on scene when a gentleman got his foot caught in a grain elevator auger. But if you ask any of these men if they wanted the award, they would all tell you the same thing: “It’s just part of my job.”
Ball feels differently.
“I am the one that should be able to recognize them and make sure that they get the recognition that we think they deserve, even if they think it’s not that big of a deal or that it’s just part of their job,” Ball said. “I about had to fire one of the guys to get him there to the ceremony, but that’s all right because they know that’s what they are supposed to be doing.“

Deputy Cameron Stanford on duty at Sugar Salem Junior High School. | Courtesy Madison County Sheriff’s Office
When Virgin got to the site of a grain elevator incident first, he knew the situation was bad, and he just automatically started to do what needed to be done.
“I just tried to make sure the scene was safe. I went and made sure that the power was off to the grain bin and then I cut the belt to the auger so that we didn’t get anybody else hurt. I went up and talked to the victim and made sure he knew we were there,” Virgin said.
As all the other deputies and EMS providers showed up, they immediately got to work and got done what needed to get done.
“Once they cut holes in the side, then everybody just jumped in and started shoveling. Whoever was there went in. It was a lot of work. They would go until they got too tired and then the next guy just jumped in. We just keep on spelling each other out for about 3 1/2 four hours to get him out — to get it low enough,” Virgin said.
But why do these deputies do this? They don’t just wake up in the morning and think, “Hey I should go shovel grain in a hot, dusty elevator for three hours today.”
They do it because it’s their job. They train and prepare so when they do get that call, they are ready.
“I don’t think a lot of people know the sacrifices being made. We’re lucky that we live where we live,” Ball said. “We are called upon at people’s worst times. Rarely do we receive a phone call because things are going good. It’s usually somebody’s worst time, and you know it can be very bad.”

Deputy Jared Newell, right, is honored by Madison County Sheriff Ron Ball with the Lifesaving award for providing CPR to a baby in Sugar City.
But that doesn’t stop the deputies from going to the call when it comes. The deputies have to stay ready to handle any situation.
”I’m always just prepared for it. You don’t really think about it. I mean you get the call and you just go. You don’t really think about it until it’s over and then when it’s over you’re like, oof glad that’s over,” Virgin said.
That’s why Ball thinks it’s so important to make sure that his deputies get these awards and are recognized for not just doing their jobs, but for going above and beyond and changing someone else’s life, or saving someone’s foot, or keeping someone from choking or drowning, even if it’s a little awkward for the deputy to receive the praise.
“I still don’t think it’s over and beyond. It‘s something we signed up to do,” Virgin said. “That’s why when people ask us why we do it, I tell them it’s what we signed up to do. It’s enough of a reward in itself. It’s just my job.”

These deputies were recently recognized as Lifesaving award recipients. | Courtesy Madison County Sheriff’s Office
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