NEWS RELEASE                                             

For Immediate Release
August 13, 2009
Contact: Michele Nicholson
Public Information Officer
  (850) 651-7420



    Four deputies from the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office earned Lifesaving Awards from Sheriff  Ed Spooner Thursday.

    During the early morning hours of July 24th, Deputies Eric Feeney and Sean Neumann entered a burning home at 138 Bryn Mawr Boulevard in Mary Esther. They rescued two sleeping occupants who were totally unaware of the danger. Firefighters say the deputy's actions were the difference between life and death for the two individuals. The house was destroyed.

    On July 8th, Deputies Jason Stoker and William Lantz entered a Fort Walton Beach area home that had smoke and flames showing after a resident said other family members were still inside. The deputies led two individuals and a dog to safety through thick smoke. The officers then re-entered the burning house after being told a woman was in a bedroom,  but  learned she was not home after all.    

     In other awards, Deputy Mike Smith was named Sworn Employee of the Quarter for his work responding to 478 calls for service, including 27 fights or disturbances and 12 reports of suspicious activity. One of those calls also involved Smith successfully delivering a baby boy whose mother went into labor at home.

     The Non-Sworn Employees of the Quarter are Angie Barrow, Jennifer Lee, Heather Derrick, Kristen Genrich, Kelley Butler, and Whitney Smith.  They are the communications staffers who handled the critical incident surrounding the shooting deaths of Okaloosa Deputies Skip York and Burt Lopez on April 25th.  Sheriff Ed Spooner says the dispatchers did an outstanding job during an exceptionally stressful event, an event that constitutes every dispatchers worst nightmare.