The Exchange Club of Savannah honored four members of the Savannah Police Department today. They give the awards every year to men and women who excel at their positions. Bucky Burnsed received Civilian of the Year honors, Detective Doug Herron was named Investigator of the Year, and Sgt. Lavon Oglesby is Supervisor of the Year.
The officer of the year is Star Corporal Martin White, who almost lost his life in the performance of his duties. At today's ceremony, WTOC spoke with Officer White about his ordeal. His spirits are high and his recovery is moving along, but White says his life will never be the same.
On the morning of December 10, someone shot White three times as he sat in his patrol car. Now he believes he's learning what true strength is, but it's a journey he hasn't had to take by himself.
"The toughest moment was when Capt. Harring came to my door," his wife Terri said. "It was 4:30 in the morning. My stomach was telling me one thing my mind was saying nothing was going on, everything is fine."
Physically, the father of eight is coming along. He's still in therapy, slowly building himself back up.
"I feel great, thank you, by the grace of God I feel wonderful," he told us.
"Since my husband got shot, it reaffirmed my belief in people, that people are basically good," Terri said.
That morning, Terri White learned just how many people, some even complete strangers, care for a fallen officer. She knows her husband is a fighter, but when you talk to Martin, you quickly find out why he feels he made it through.
"I knew I didn't have any strength of my own, but all my strength came from God," he said.
And it's because of his dedication to people that Star Corporal White is Officer of the Year.
"He loves what he does," Terri said. "That night, he was doing what he loved to do, which is police work, and I'm very proud of him"
Soon after the shooting, police charged 26-year-old Ahmad Johnson with aggravated assault on a police officer in connection with the shooting. Officer White is improving each day, but he and his wife really wanted to say thank you. He says once he's back at 100 percent, he'll decide whether or not he'll return to the force.