FORSYTH -- Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday recognized 18 public safety professionals for acts of heroism and eight for contributions to their profession at the Governor's Public Safety Awards ceremony in Forsyth.
The recipients were given medallions and their names were added to the Governor's Public Safety Awards' monument located inside the Georgia Public Safety Training Center.
Included in the group was Lee County Fire Department Lt. Alan Harris, who was cited for saving a paraplegic Lee County resident from a house fire in 2011.
"I am honored to recognize our brave law enforcement officers and emergency responders who risk their lives every day to make our state a safer place," Deal said. "Public safety is one of the most solemn obligations of state government, and I thank these heroes for their selfless commitment to Georgia citizens."
Harris' commendation reads:
"On July 30, 2011, Lt. Alan Harris and Firefighter Kyle Lentz were dispatched to a residential structure fire in Leesburg. While en route, dispatch advised that there was the possibility of a victim inside of the structure. On arrival, Harris made his way to the structure while Firefighter Lentz pulled an attach line for protection of search and rescue efforts. Without the aid of a charged hose line for his protection,
"Harris entered the structure where he heard the cries for help. Harris proceeded to a bedroom, where he found a paraplegic victim lying on a bed, with flames beside the bed. Harris single-handedly removed the victim using a "fireman's carry," which requires great strength and agility to perform.
"Thanks to the heroic efforts of Harris, the victim survived this incident with no lasting injuries as a result of the fire."
The honor was unexpected by Harris, a Miami native who has been with the Lee County department for nearly eight years.
"I was surprised when the chief (James Howell) nominated me. That in itself is a huge honor," Harris said. "I was even more surprised when I got the letter telling me I was selected; I was just doing my job."
Those sentiments were echoed by Howell.
"I have mixed emotions about the award because I'm proud that one of our firefighters has been recognized, but on the other side, he was doing exactly what he was supposed to do," said Howell. "This is what those guys do. But I am very happy for him and that he makes Lee County proud."
The annual Governor's Public Safety Awards program began in 1998 to recognize public safety officers who go above and beyond the call of duty to protect citizens and make significant contributions to the public safety profession at large.