Columbia County sheriff's Deputy Steven Leathers can often be seen pulling over a speeding motorist, helping a stranded driver or directing traffic at the scene of a wreck.
Columbia County Deputy Steven Leathers accepts an award for heroism from James D. McMenamin, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Wesley Mack Lodge 39, as Staff Sgt. Tim Perry (from left) Capt. Johnny Whittle and Sheriff Clay Whittle look on.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
On March 28, though, the motorcycle deputy stood on the steps of the Columbia County Justice Center, receiving recognition from the local lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police for a good deed he had conducted while off duty.
"We don't get a lot of recognition, but it does mean a lot when we do," Leathers said, while his wife, Denise, and sons, Parker, 7, and Tanner, 4, watched.
Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle, sheriff's Capt. Johnny Whittle and several of Leathers' fellow traffic patrol colleagues were there to see the honor go to Leathers, who has worked for the sheriff's office for nearly seven years.
Jim McMenamin, the president of the Wesley Mack Lodge 39, said they honored Leathers for his quick thinking in a September incident in which they say he possibly saved a diabetic woman and her child.
"Deputy Steven Leathers displayed exemplary behavior while off duty," McMenamin said. "He may have been off the clock, but he was certainly not off duty."
McMenamin presented Leathers a plaque of appreciation for his efforts in the Sept. 25 incident that occurred at Monterrey Mexican Restaurant in Columbia Square in Martinez.
While at the restaurant, Leathers, along with several diners, walked outside to investigate a commotion, which turned out to be a woman who was driving erratically in the restaurant's parking lot.
"Deputy Leathers took off towards the vehicle, jumped through the open window, grabbed the keys and was able to stop the vehicle," McMenamin said.
Leathers determined the woman, who had her small child in the car, seemed to be having a diabetic reaction, so he gave her a piece of candy. Paramedics confirmed Leathers had taken the correct action.
"Deputy Leathers' quick response and actions avoided a potential tragedy that could have injured the child and passersby," McMenamin said.
Leathers said he reacted the same as any other deputy would. "I reacted to the situation,'' he said. "I wasn't thinking. It was more reaction. Anyone else would tell you that they would have done the same thing."
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