Four Sheriff's Office deputies who helped save four people trapped inside their car in the Stones River were honored by the NAACP Saturday during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast.
Lt. Chris Haynes, Sgt. Brian Wright and Deputies Trey Mosby and Mike Farmer received the Jerry Anderson Hero Award.
The award is named for former NFL player Jerry Anderson, who drowned May 27, 1989 saving the lives of two Murfreesboro boys, Brad Logsdon and Josh "Pooh" McFarland. Anderson played football for Central High School, the University of Oklahoma and the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The four Sheriff's Office employees were among a team of deputies and Rutherford County Fire and Rescue firefighters who saved two children and two women whose vehicle traveled off the Elam Mill slab and into the river in December 2014.
NAACP Third Vice President Mary Wade said they fought the strong current to rescue the family submerged in the Stones River "without regard to their own safety. Everyone was saved" through the team effort with other deputies and firefighters.
Sheriff Robert Arnold said he was extremely proud of the deputies.
"These deputies risked their lives in the freezing water to make sure the people trapped in the car were saved," Sheriff Arnold said. "It took a team of deputies and firefighters to safely rescue the children and women. They are true heroes."
Lt. Haynes said when deputies arrived, the people in the car were in a panic. The deputies didn't know how much longer the vehicle was going to stay in place.
"Everything just fell together in the fact that Deputy Mosby had the rope, Deputy Farmer had the wits about him to anchor everything down," Lt. Haynes said.
Lt. Haynes and Sgt. Wright, accompanied by deputies and volunteer firefighters, rescued the women and children from the car.
After the presentation, Lt. Haynes said he knew Anderson as a child growing up in Murfreesboro and remembered when he left to play football for the University of Oklahoma.
"I wanted to grow up like Jerry Anderson," Lt. Haynes said.
Ironically, Sgt. Wright went to Central High School with Anderson's daughter, Vicky, and knew both Logsdon and McFarland.