COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – The South Carolina Sheriff’s Association’s Medal of Valor is awarded to officers “who perform actions above and beyond the call of duty.”
“It’s not every day that you find people who run into burning buildings to try to save someone they don’t even know or have never net,” said Sheriff Leroy Ravenell, the President of The South Carolina Sheriff’s Association.
41 officers received the prestigious award this year, including 18 Spartanburg County deputies.
“We say thank you for what you do,” said Ravenell. “We really appreciate it.”
The deputies selected exhibited courage and heroism on the job, according to Sheriff Chuck Wright
In one case, he explained that deputies were led on a chase after spotting a stolen vehicle. He said they arrested the suspects even though they were being shot at.
In another case, the SWAT Team responded to a dangerous situation at a home.
“Our guys were inside that house taking fire,” explained Wright. “They didn’t back up and didn’t panic. They pressed. The threat was finally eliminated.”
Deputy Benjamin McCombs was awarded for his actions during one of the most challenging times for the department.
“June 21 was a pretty hard day for everybody,” said Wright. “We had a deputy, Austin Aldridge, get killed in the line of duty.”
Aldridge was shot when he went to a home to follow up on a domestic violence report. The man who shot him fled. While responding to the scene, Wright said McCombs spotted the suspect on the road.
“He passes the guy, turns around and pursues him,” explained Wright. “They get into a gun battle twice. Ben kept pressing and calling out his location. We ended up getting the guy.”
It is actions like that which are why Wright said he is proud of his team.
“I’m honored,” said Wright. “I get to go to work and hang around these men.”
Deputy Aldridge was among the 18 Spartanburg County deputies to receive the award.