SEBRING — While for most people the brush fires have been at best an annoyance, for Barbra Hair the blaze on one particular day may have been a life saver.
On March 21, Highlands County Sheriff’s Office Det. Dustin Campbell was scheduled to travel to work in Avon Park. But, according to information provided at Recognition Ceremony Wednesday, he couldn’t reach that location because of smoke from a brush fire.
That resulted in him joining Economic Crimes Investigator Hair, who was alone at the Sheriff’s Office branch office in Lake Placid. At some point later, Hair was eating at the office and started choking.
Campbell acted quickly and struck a blow to Hair’s back, causing a piece of food to be dislodged.
Hair told others at the Sheriff’s Office that if it were not for Campbell, she would be dead.
For his actions, Campbell received a lifesaving award at the Sheriff’s Office’s Quarterly Recognition Ceremony. He also was named detective of the quarter for solving burglaries.
He wasn’t the only one recognized for saving a life.
When the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office received a call on March 31 that an elderly man had taken a bunch of pills and then swam into Dinner Lake, Deputy Brett Hinkle knew he had to act fast, he recalled Thursday.
He said he found a boat docked along the lake and went to the area where the elderly man ended up and rescued the man.
If he had waited until other assistance arrived, the man might have died, he said.
For saving the man’s life, Hinkle received a letter of achievement during the quarterly awards ceremony at the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.
While the actions of Deputy John Garrison may not have reached the level of saving a life or solving a murder, they most likely meant a lot for a child at the Highlands County Fair.
Garrison, who received a letter of recognition, returned Arlow, a rabbit, to a child participating in the livestock section of the Highlands County Fair.
Some other children had stolen Arlow, Garrison said.
But, they made the mistake of posting photos of Arlow onto Instagram. Garrison said that helped him locate the rabbit and return it to the grateful child.
Garrison also received recognition for being proactive in regards to driving under the influence cases and for being willing to work extra hours to wrap up cases.
Others receiving recognition included Kathy Perez, a crime scene technician, who received a letter of recognition for work in helping to solve cases by analyzing evidence.
Several deputies received exceptional achievement awards for investigating an accident in 2015 that resulted in a pregnant woman receiving serious injuries. Their efforts built a case that the driver causing the accident was intoxicated at the time.
The deputies receiving the awards were Det. John Wilkinson and deputies Steve Worley, Maylin Hernandez, Kevin Gentry, Mike Weed and John Steffner. Crime Scene Analyst Jason Dionne also received recognition.