FORSYTH, GA – On Monday, Governor Nathan Deal presented Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Rangers Captain Chris Hodge, Corporal Craig Smith, and Ranger First Class David Brady with the Governor’s Public Safety Awards for Acts of Heroism in two separate incidents last year. The awards were presented during the 2015 Governor’s Public Safety Awards ceremony at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth.
The Governor’s Public Safety Awards Program recognizes those men and women who have gone “above and beyond the call of duty” to protect the lives and property of the citizens of Georgia and those who have made significant contributions to their profession.
On December 5, 2014, Capt. Hodge, who was a Sergeant at the time, responded to a request to assist the Camden County Sheriff’s Office in the pursuit of a murder suspect on I-95. During the pursuit, Camden Deputy Lamar Bowen attempted to stop the suspect using the PIT maneuver, causing the suspect to crash and Bowen’s patrol car to leave the roadway and roll violently down the shoulder of the interstate. As other officers rushed to apprehend the suspect, Sgt. Hodge immediately focused on Bowen, who was unconscious and still belted in the patrol car. As Hodge administered first aid, the vehicle caught fire. Sgt. Hodge, with assistance from other officers, pulled Deputy Bowen out of the burning car to safety. The quick and heroic actions of Sgt. Hodge helped to preserve the life of Deputy Bowen that night.
On March 9, 2015, Corporal Craig Smith and Ranger First Class (RFC) David Brady responded to a call regarding a missing person on the Satilla River in Brantley County. The caller was not aware of his exact location so the Rangers launched separate boats from different locations and were able to quickly locate him. Upon arrival, they learned that his brother had jumped in the river to swim. With the river near flood stage, he began to struggle, went under, and did not resurface. As Smith and Brady searched the wooded area and the river, they heard cries for help. As midnight approached, they found the man, submerged to his neck, entangled in tree branches, and nearly unconscious. The Rangers were able to break through the branches and pull the victim into their boat without capsizing in the swift currents. They transported the victim, who was suffering from extreme hypothermia with a core body temperature of only 92 degrees, to waiting EMS personnel. Without the persistence and bravery of Cpl. Smith and RFC Brady, the victim would have lost his life.
“Training is the key. These Rangers acted on their training with confidence and courage and lives were saved as a result,” said DNR Col. Eddie Henderson, director of Law Enforcement. “I am very proud of these Rangers and their willingness to selflessly risk personal safety to ensure the safety of others who likely would not have survived,”
Capt. Chris Hodge is a 14-year veteran with Georgia DNR Law Enforcement and was recently promoted to supervisor of DNR Law Enforcement’s Region IV - West Central Georgia. Cpl. Craig Smith is a 15-year veteran of the Division assigned to Camden County and Ranger First Class David Brady is assigned to Glynn County and has been with DNR 11 years.
Contact: Mark McKinnon
Public Affairs Officer
Law Enforcement Division
Office: (706) 557-3106
Mobile: (404) 387-7780