12 awards were given Thursday for saving lives, and 2 for outstanding job performance. Law enforcement from all across Georgia joined forces to recognize their brave colleagues. Governor Nathan Deal addressed the public safety community that works to protect Georgia every day.
"They're all the best examples we have of Georgians who are working to make their space in this state the best they can be," says Governor Deal.
Among the 12 courageous officers, 1 Cobb County firefighter, Rusty Brown, was honored for saving a young boy's life.
Two brothers, James and Christian Burdette, were playing at High Falls State Park in October 2017 when they both fell down the waterfall onto rocks. Brown responded to the call. Christian died after the fall, but James called 911, and Brown was lowered by helicopter on a 100-foot rope.
Brown says his number one priority that day was to get James to safety, "Make it happen -- that was really about it. We trained, and it was natural -- you know, muscle memory of doing what we needed to do, and just getting us out of there."
After receiving his award and name on the monument, Brown says it was surreal, "It's pretty awesome. Overwhelming. I still don't feel like I deserve something to this level. Like I said, it is my job. I volunteered to be on the aviation team."
The thanks he got from James felt like an award by itself. "He reached out to me at one point just to say, 'Thank you,' and how thankful he was, on Facebook," said Brown.
Two decades of officers honored, now Brown's name sits on the monument among Georgia's heroic men and women of law enforcement.
Three other local officers also received awards. Lance Spurling from Crisp County Sheriff's office, and Ryan Powell and Scott Radebaugh from Centerville Police Department.