March 08, 2017  |  09:43 am

From off-duty rescues, being injured in the line of duty, saving the life of his own son, and selflessly donating a kidney to save the life of another law enforcement officer, it is with great honor that we announce the St. Tammany Parish Deputy of the Year, Deputy Robert “Andre” Ardeneaux, Jr. Many people go their entire career and never face some of the challenges and situations in which Deputy Ardeneaux has faced, especially all in one year.

Deputy Ardeneaux has been employed with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office since March 22, 2007.  During that time, he has held assignments in Corrections, Criminal Patrol, and Special Operations/Traffic.  Deputy Ardeneaux has additionally earned the responsibility of training our future generation of law enforcement by earning the position of Field Training Officer.

In March 2016, Deputy Ardeneaux was on pre-approved vacation. During his leave, St. Tammany Parish experienced extensive rainfall.  The abundance of rain resulted in major flooding in the Covington area, which led to the Special Operations Division being activated for emergency evacuations. Without hesitation or request, Deputy Ardeneaux immediately nulled his vacation and took part of the rescue operations until they were complete. During the second day of the March flood rescues, the swift current caused a boat to capsize with people inside. As a result of Deputy Ardeneaux’s valiant effort to save the shipwrecked crew, he tore several ligaments in his shoulder which required surgery.

Following a surgery for his shoulder injury, Deputy Ardeneaux was ordered to avoid work during a portion of the recovery. While away from work, Deputy Ardeneaux accompanied his spouse and children to a community swimming pool for a child’s party. As the party came to an end, Deputy Ardeneaux’s children were removed from the pool and told to dry off while he helped his wife collect their belongings.  As they were leaving, they could not locate one of their children.  Deputy Ardeneaux noticed a dark object at the bottom of the pool.  Fearing the object was his missing son, Deputy Ardeneaux removed his arm/shoulder sling and jumped into the pool. Once in contact with the object, Deputy Ardeneaux’s worst fear came to reality.  The motionless object was his son. Deputy Ardeneaux “went into auto-pilot” and immediately directed someone to call 9-1-1. He then followed through with his training and began properly administering CPR to his lifeless son. Prior to the arrival of EMS, Deputy Ardeneaux had managed to successfully resuscitate his son. His child was rushed to Children’s Hospital, and after an overnight stay, and several examinations, Deputy Ardeneaux was able to return home with his son.  Deputy Ardeneaux expressed his praise to the STPSO Training Division for the years of training that enabled him to save the life of his own child.

Deputy Ardeneaux returned to full duty at the end of June 2016. Upon his return, Deputy Ardeneaux informed his supervisors of a rare situation/opportunity that had presented itself.  He explained how several months prior, a friend of his had been tested as a kidney-donor match for his (friend’s) mother-in-law.  His friend’s thoughtless action enticed Deputy Ardeneaux to get tested. Prior to being released to full duty, Deputy Ardeneaux was contacted and told he was a perfect match to someone in desperate need of a kidney.  Although the thought of being able to help save someone’s life excited Deputy Ardeneaux, nothing could prepare him for what was to come next.

Deputy Ardeneaux was told his kidney was a perfect match for a gentleman named, Jason Triche. Jason Triche, Deputy Ardeneaux learned, was also a law enforcement officer.  He was a Sheriff’s Deputy for St. John the Baptist Parish. Triche was the victim of an ambush shooting, where two of his fellow deputies were shot to death.  As a result of the ambush shooting, Triche was in dire need of a kidney.  Deputy Ardeneaux informed his supervisors that he had to save this man’s life.  As with the previous incidents, Deputy Ardeneaux did not wish to have his business publicized. He expressed that his actions were not being done for recognition. He expressed the honor he felt in knowing that although he wasn’t present at the time of the ambush shooting to save his fellow officers’ lives, he could still save one officer’s life.  Deputy Ardeneaux explained he could provide that fellow officer the opportunity to live a normal life with his family, and possibly even return to his career of law enforcement.

At the beginning of September 2016, Deputy Ardeneaux underwent surgery to remove one of his kidneys and transplant it to Jason Triche. The surgery was a success. Deputy Ardeneaux fully recovered and returned to work within a few weeks. Triche recovered as well, and no longer has to receive dialysis treatments.  Both officers, and their families, became good friends and maintain a relationship to this day.

Sheriff Randy Smith says, “I can’t think of anyone more deserving than Deputy Ardeneaux to be awarded Deputy of the Year. He is a model law enforcement officer who brings a whole new meaning to the words ‘Protect and Serve’.”