Sheriff Ron Long held a special ceremony to honor life-saving emergency personnel in area

Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long held his first ever awards ceremony to honor eight emergency personnel who have helped save lives over the past two months.

Long started the ceremony, which took place on Aug. 31, by thanking all the emergency personnel who stepped up in a time of crisis.

"Over the last few months, we have had a lot of heroes who have stepped up to the plate," he said. "They come to work not knowing what is going to face them, but when they do have to go out and do their jobs, especially an extraordinary job like they had during the floods, they don't sit there and pat themselves on the back. They work viciously for 24-hours straight or sometimes for days without rest."

Long said that there were more than eight that deserved recognition.

"We are very proud to have so many heroes," he said. "The sad part about this to me is that there are dozens of people who deserve this."

Several emergency personnel were honored for an incident that occurred during the Aug. 6 flood when two women were caught in raging waters with nothing but a tree to hang on to. The force of the water kept these women pinned against trees with their chins barely above the waterline.

Capt. William Allis of the Fort Leonard Wood Fire/Rescue team dove into the raging waters and held on to both of the women and supported their hold on the trees for nearly 30 minutes.

Then, Sgt. Justin L. McCullough and Crp. Lance D. Declue, of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, steered a boat through dangerous waters, dodging propane tanks and other obstacles to get to the stranded trio. During the rescue, floating objects continually struck the vessel, almost sinking it at times. McCullough and Declue were able to pull the two victims to safety.

With Allis still in the powerful flood waters, St. Robert Police Officer Christian Butler attempted several times to get to him. In a final attempt, Butler was able to wade through the waters and throw the rope to another rescuer who was able to provide a secure line to Allis.

Allis, McCullough, Declue and Butler were all given the Life Saving Award for their heroic acts.

Deputy James Bott was also honored with the Life Saving Award for using his personal boat to help rescue a woman, several small children, and two dogs.

Three other officers were honored with the prestigious award.

Pulaski County Corrections Officer Nick Suhr was honored for saving an inmate's life, who attempted to hang himself with a blanket on July 26. Suhr removed the blanket from the inmate's neck and provided first aid that allowed the inmate to regain consciousness.

Sgt. Mark Piles and Corp. Earl David Jones were honored for assisting a traffic crash that happened July 4. Piles and Jones performed life saving treatment on two victims as soon as they arrived on scene and were able to keep one of the victims alive and conscious until paramedics arrived, thus playing an instrumental role in the victim's survival.