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Commissioners honor sheriff’s deputies who are recognized for their lifesaving heroics


The county’s meeting chambers brimmed with more heroes than an Avengers movie this week as Alamance County’s commissioners recognized a number of local sheriff’s deputies for their conspicuous gallantry in the service of others.

The commissioners ultimately honored a half dozen of these mostly unmasked marvels on Monday for acts of bravery and professional dedication that have literally saved the lives of people in Alamance County and beyond.

Among the evening’s honorees were lieutenant Matt Sharp and deputy Tyler Smith, who were presented with a departmental “lifesaving” award for their breathless rescue of an area resident who tried to hang himself from a tree earlier this year.

According to the sheriff’s office, Sharp and Smith arrived just in time to see Robert “Tate” Herring take a plunge from these homemade gallows on February 23. As Herring’s body went limp, the two men scrambled to brace his body and cut him down from the tree. In the end, their quick reflexes saved more than just the proverbial day – as John Paisley, Jr., the chairman of Alamance County’s commissioners, recounted on Monday.

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County commissioner chairman John Paisley, Jr. congratulates sheriff’s lieutenant Matt Sharp and deputy Tyler Smith, who were presented with “lifesaving awards” for their rescue of an area man who was trying to hang himself earlier this year.

“Had it not been for Lt. Sharp and Deputy Smith,” Paisley declared, “Mr. Herring would’ve passed away.”

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Paisley also joined Alamance County’s sheriff Terry Johnson in presenting life saving awards to detectives Jenna Van Horn and Joshua Shumate for their courageous rescue of a family whose car was caught in a torrential rainstorm last month.

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Lifesaving awards were also presented to detectives Jenna Van Horn and Joshua Shumate for their rescue of family whose car was submerged in flood waters during a storm earlier this year. County commissioner John Paisley, Jr. and sheriff Terry Johnson lauded the detectives.

According to the sheriff’s office, the two detectives leapt into the rising flood waters as the water began to submerge the family’s vehicle. They ultimately pulled all five of the vehicle’s occupants to safety, including an infant that they had noticed the driver desperately lift above the water which was inundating the car.

The final pair of commendations that evening were extended to lieutenants Jaleesa Alston and Zachary “Taylor” Ray for their roles in the safe recovery of a 14-year-old girl who had been kidnapped from Davidson County. After discovering that the abductor had also communicated online with girls in Alamance County, Alston and Ray obtained computer forensics that pinpointed the suspect’s location in Arkansas. The kidnapper ultimately died in a shootout with Arkansas state troopers – although not before his victim was able to slip from his grip.

Lieutenant Zachary “Taylor” Ray
Lieutenant Jaleesa Alston

The sheriff informed the commissioners that the contribution which Alston and Ray made in this case has since gotten a formal doff of the cap from the National Center for

See story on their recognition from an earlier story in The Alamance News: https://alamancenews.com/national-center-recognizes-heroics-of-two-local-deputies/

Missing and Exploited Children. In fact, the center invited the two lieutenants to a ceremony in Arlington, Virginia last month where they were presented with the organization’s coveted “Hero” award for their parts in the 14-year-old’s rescue.

“Had they not been able to identify the individual and put it out all over the nation,” the sheriff went on to tell the commissioners, “that little girl probably would not have been saved.”

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