July 16, 2021  |  02:06 pm

Sheriff Randy Smith was honored to present several deputies with awards Thursday (July 15) at a special agency-wide ceremony held at the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Pearl River Training Center.

Employees were recognized for their acts of bravery, heroism and selfless service shown over the past two years as no such ceremony was held last year due to the Covid pandemic. 

Administrative Deputy of the Year for 2020, Deputy First Class Thu Huynh-Yee, along with Corrections Deputies of the Year for 2019 and 2020, Deputy First Class Johnathan Lott and Deputy First Class Warren Farrell, and Law Enforcement Deputies of the Year for 2019 and 2020, Detective Zachary Bruno and Deputy First Class Sean Gowan, were all honored.

Deputy Brian Schwaner, an employee in the agency’s Criminal Record’s Division, was presented with the prestigious Pinnacle Award. This award is presented to administrative and support personnel in recognition of exemplary performance. The individuals who received this award are identified by their supervisors and peers as having consistently excelled in their positions and demonstrated integrity and commitment to the mission and values of the agency.  It is in recognition of extraordinary achievement and/or exceptional performance of their service in a manner to bring credit to the Sheriff’s Office.

Other awards presented included the Medal of Merit, Lifesaving Award and the Medal of Valor. 

The Medal of Merit is granted to a deputy who performs a service beyond the ordinary course of duty or continuously acts in a manner to bring credit to the Sheriff’s Office.  The following deputies were awarded Medals of Merit: Detective Matt Nelson, Detective Julie Boynton, Deputy Tyler Caruso and Deputy David Sierra.

The Lifesaving Medal is granted where a deputy acting in an emergency situation results in the saving of a life. The following deputies were awarded Lifesaving Medals: Deputy First Class Jesse Smith, Detective Jonathan Ringo, Deputy First Class John Hrabley, Sergeant Scott Maitrejean, Sergeant Roy Spizale, Deputy First Class Joseph Broom, Deputy First Class Jesse Smith, Corporal Ryan Eberts, Corporal Brandon Bass, Corporal Chris Cassidy and Corporal Jared Mire.

The Medal of Valor is the second highest award in the Sheriff’s Office (second only to the Medal of Honor).  This award is granted when a deputy has placed him or herself into a situation that could result in bodily harm while performing a brave act beyond the call of duty or acting in an emergency resulting in the saving of a life.  The following employees were awarded Medals of Valor: Deputy First Class Walter Eason, Deputy Chris Washington, Sergeant Jed Sharp, Corporal William McIntyre, Deputy First Class, Preston McCarra and Deputy First Class Dylan Crawford. 

Deputy First Class Dylan Crawford was also awarded the 2021 Louisiana Sheriff’s Association Deputy Valor Award.

Sheriff Smith thanked all of the award recipients for “going above and beyond their normal call of duty.”  

He added that this is especially noteworthy during a time when “it is getting tougher and tougher to seek a job in law enforcement not only in our community but in our nation,” and he thanked them for their dedicated service to the agency and the citizens of St. Tammany Parish.