EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - A special surprise in the middle of Tuesday's Effingham County Commission meeting. Two deputies injured in the line of duty awarded for their service.
Veteran Deputy, Corporal James Wilkinson was shot in 2015 trying to arrest a robbery suspect. Fortunately, he's back on the job, keeping the people of Effingham County safe.
He and Deputy Sergeant Danny Harrington were given Purple Hearts by the National Sheriff's Association.
Sergeant Harrington was stabbed earlier this year, a part of a group attempting to serve a court order. Both of these men, deserving of that recognition tonight.
"It means a lot knowing that the upper admin and the brass recognize the fact that we all come out here and work hard and do what we're supposed to do and sometimes these things happen and they do what they can do for us," said Cpl. Wilkinson.
Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie presented his deputies with the Purple Hearts. He tells us he could not be prouder to have guys like this on his force.
"Either one of them could have passed away and we would have been burying them instead. In the last few days, we've had 6 officers in the state of Georgia that's been shot. So the times are getting hard presentations like this, we like to do the presentations and recognize them, but not necessarily these types of presentations," said Sheriff McDuffie.
Corporal Wilkinson was also awarded the Medal of Valor. When he was shot last year, he was not wearing a bulletproof vest.
Since he's recovered, he can now look back with a sense of humor. Cpl. Wilkinson's one piece of advice to other deputies: Never forget to wear your vest!