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Published on December 22nd, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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“2015 Deputy of the Year Award”

Pictured from left: Sergeant Chris Duke, Sheriff Leon Lott and Master Deputy Trobathian Johnson

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott awarded Master Deputy Trobathian “TJ” Johnson and Sergeant Chris Duke the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s coveted “2015 Deputy of the Year” Award. The Sheriff stated that on Saturday, December 19, 2015 at the annual Richland County Sheriff’s Department Christmas Banquet, TJ and Chris were honored for their heroic deeds.

The Sheriff stated that their actions saved the lives of citizens during traumatic times putting their own lives at risk:

Master Deputy Trobathian “TJ” Johnson saved two lives on Friday, June 5, 2015 at 1151 Old Garners Ferry Road, 29209 (Pine Lake Park). TJ was off duty and had arrived at the park to do some fishing when he was immediately approached by an employee of the park. The couple’s canoe capsized putting them in immediate danger. TJ, without hesitation jumped in the lake and swam approximately 50 yards to rescue the 60 year old woman who clearly was in distress; he brought her back to safety and immediately swam back out approximately one-hundred yards to save the 58 year old man who was clinging to the capsized boat. The Sheriff stated that not only did TJ bring the man back safely, but he also brought the boat back as well. Sheriff Leon Lott stated that this was not only an act of bravery; TJ clearly saved the lives of this married couple as they could not swim.

Sergeant Chris Duke saved the life of a man during the massive flooding of 2015. On Sunday, October 4th at the 200 block of Killian Road , the victim was driving his vehicle when it became disabled in the flood waters. The victim couldn’t get out of his car due to the rising waters, and the fear that he would be washed away. Chris arrived in the area and walked in chest high water to the vehicle, without regard for his own safety. Chris rescued him by carrying him to safe ground out of harms way and the dangerous flooding. The Sheriff stated that the victim believed that if it had not been for the quick actions of Sergeant Duke, the victim would have perished in the flooding therefore, his actions saved this man’s life.

Sheriff Leon Lott stated that TJ and Chris acted without hesitation saving the lives of others. The Sheriff says he’s proud of all of the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department that wear the uniform; each day he hears of the good deeds that the deputies perform daily. Some go beyond the line of duty risking their own lives to save others, job well done TJ and Chris! Sheriff Leon Lott stated that Chris and TJ both received a 2015 Deputy of the Year plaque and $1,000 check each from the Richland County Sheriff’s Foundation.

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