Monroe County Sheriff John Bittick called a mandatory meeting for his deputies Friday, but would not explain why.
When they arrived, he surprised the group by presenting Lieutenant Brad Freeman, Sergeant Mike Hull, and Deputy Chad Beck with a medal of valor.
In April, the three deputies were leaving Atlanta after a training session when they noticed a wreck in the northbound lane of the interstate. A car had collided with a trailer and was engulfed in flames. Bittick says the group decided to stop and pulled the driver out of the car.
"I think these three guys went above and beyond what the normal call of duty is. They could have very easily just continued down the highway, but they chose to stop and assist this guy and wound up saving his life," says Bittick.
But Freeman says, as a deputy, it's his job to protect all people, not just those in Monroe County.
"I think we did have to stop. It's our duty to stop. We don't have a choice," he says.
Bittick says the medal of valor is one of the highest honors for a deputy. These are the only three he has awarded in his thirty years as sheriff.