2021 Awards Banquet

There are many different responses to answer the question of “What is a Hero?” It’ has been said that there is a hero inside all of us waiting to be called on at the right time for the right reason. During these times of dealing with the Covid pandemic, we have all seen the large signs in front of hospitals that read, “Heroes Work Here,” And indeed they do. So heroes come in all different ages, colors, shapes and sizes, genders, religious beliefs, nationalities and life experiences. But the one thing they all have in common is the courage to do whatever is needed at a given time for the right reason regardless of the personal risk. Below we present to you this years awards recipients, in which there are many heroes.

2021 KSA Citizen Support Award


The Kentucky Sheriff’s Association recognizes the tremendous job Wellpath does all year long in so many areas, and particularly large role they have undertaken in the work of the KSA Boys & Girls Ranch.  This past summer the Kentucky Sheriff’s Association Boys & Girls Ranch experienced a great camping season, due in no small part to the around the clock availability of a licensed nurse provided for our campers and staff by Wellpath.  As you can imagine dispensing prescription medications and taking care of cuts and bruises, headaches and upset stomachs can be a big responsibility for the camp staff.  But that task was taken good care of by a wonderful team of nurses who provided good medical care and also managed to enjoy some fun interacting with our campers.  We simply can’t thank them enough and so presented Wellpath with the 2021 KSA Citizen Support Award.

2021 KSA Life Saving Award

Deputy Mark Cornett – Hardin County Sheriff’s Office

Imagine for a moment what it would be like to be trapped in a car involved in a traffic collision.  You know you are badly injured, your right arm is severed, and you realize that unless you get immediate help you are likely going to bleed to death.  You are slipping in and out of a fog from loss of blood and then the most beautiful car you have ever seen arrives on the scene.  It has brilliant blue and red lights flashing and the writing on the side reads “Hardin County Sheriff”.   Then out steps a man in uniform who you think must be an angel sent from God.  Fortunately for you, the angel in this case turns out to be Hardin County Deputy, Mark Cornett.  Deputy Cornett quickly determines that your brachial artery has been severed and immediately notifies control that he is applying a tourniquet so they can track the time.  He stays with you and you hear “hang in there – you’re going to make it”.  Soon you are freed from the wreckage and taken to the hospital where you finally realize that you are not going to die.  You have been given a second chance at life thanks to the training and quick actions of Deputy Mark Cornett who was dispatched to your accident.  For this quick action and commitment to service the KSA Life Saving Award is presented to Hardin County Deputy Sheriff Mark Cornett.

2021 KSA Life Saving Award

Deputy Allen Turner – Laurel County Sheriff’s Office

As a result of the quick response and training of Laurel County Deputy Sheriff Allen Turner, a three-month old child is alive today.  On January 18th Deputy Turner was dispatched to an unresponsive three-month old in Southern Laurel County.  Upon arrival the baby was not breathing so Deputy Turner immediately began CPR.  After a minute or so the baby took a breath and finally began crying.  EMS arrived quickly and transported the child to the local hospital and later to UK Medical Center where doctors discovered and treated a brain bleed consistent with the child having been aggressively shaken.  Upon further investigation the father of the child was arrested and charged with Assault.  The baby continued to receive treatment and slowly recovered thanks to the life saving actions of one deputy.  There are no words or medals that can ever exceed the feeling of knowing you were able to save a human life.  And so, the KSA Life Saving Award is presented to Laurel County Deputy Allen Turner. 

2021 KSA Life Saving Award

Deputy Walter Wetzel – Nelson County Sheriff’s Office

In recent years we may have become conditioned to think that overdose victims are a routine part of the job.  However, we can all agree that there is nothing routine about the loss of a life due to any situation.  Including an overdose of drugs.  That was the situation facing Nelson County Deputy Walter Wetzel on April 23rd.  When Deputy Wetzel arrived on the scene of a victim of a heroin overdose the unresponsive male victim was turning blue and close to death.  The first dose of Narcan that was administered was unsuccessful.  The Deputy administered a second dose and began rescue breaths and chest compressions.  Fire and Rescue arrived on scene and assisted with oxygen.  Finally, the victim began to regain consciousness and was transported to Flaget Hospital.  Today that man is alive because of the training and quick response of a caring person in uniform.  And so, KSA presented the Life Saving Award to Nelson County Deputy Walter Wetzel. 

Accepting for Deputy Wetzel, Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa

2021 KSA Life Saving Award

Deputy Brian Voils – Nelson County Sheriff’s Office

The goal of a First Responder to a life-threatening situation is to give the victim a chance to survive.  That’s what Nelson County Deputy Brian Voils did on April 25th when he answered the call of a female victim who collapsed while showing a home to a reality client.  In addition to being a law enforcement officer Deputy Voils is a certified EMT, and after finding no pulse or breathing from the victim he began to administer CPR.  Shortly thereafter EMS arrived to assist and a pulse was detected.  The victim was transported to Flaget Hospital and then on to Jewish Hospital in Louisville.  Unfortunately, the woman passed away on May 1st.  But she was given a fighting chance at life due to the training, caring, and life-saving actions of a Deputy Sheriff.  Therefore, the KSA Life Saving Award was presented to Nelson County Deputy Brian Voils. 

2021 KSA Life Saving Award

Deputy Jerry Hardin – Nelson County Sheriff’s Office

Imaging the shock of a young wife and mother awakening to find her 31-year-old healthy husband unresponsive and not breathing.  After calling 911 she did the best she could to perform CPR.  But the arrival of Nelson County Deputy Jerry Hardin was a welcomed sight.  Deputy Hardin immediately took over the CPR until EMS arrived on the scene and transported the young father of a three-year old to the hospital.  Once in Louisville the young father beat the odds and one week later walked out of the hospital with his wife.  Today that man is well known in his community and very active as a 19th District Basketball Official.  For his life saving actions that helped save a man’s life, the KSA Life Saving Award was presented to Nelson County Deputy Jerry Hardin. 

2021 KSA Medal of Valor

Chief Deputy Chris Noel – Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office

One of the most dangerous runs for Law Enforcement is one involving domestic violence issues.  On July 23rd when Caldwell County Chief Deputy Chris Noel arrived on the scene he observed a man and woman in a heated argument on the front porch.  With any potential backup some distance away, Chris attempted to verbally de-escalate the situation.  The man involved was not compliant and continued to make agitated threats.  Chief Noel slowly worked his way between the two parties to give the woman some distance and a measure of safety.  Suddenly the man produced a knife.  Chief Noel reacted immediately and a struggle over control of the knife ensued.  During the fight over the knife the two men fell from the porch onto the ground.  After some minutes of struggle Chief Noel was finally able to gain control of the knife and subdue the man.  At great risk to his own life, Chief Noel demonstrated courage and great restraint throughout an ordeal in which use of deadly force would have been justified.  One has to wonder if the man involved ever realized that he is alive today because Chris Noel answered that run.  But we know.  And for his courage during a deadly force encounter the KSA Medal of Valor was presented to Caldwell County Chief Deputy Chris Noel. 

2021 KSA Medal of Honor

Deputy Austin Meredith – Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office

Once again, we have Deputies responding to a domestic trouble run.  This time it was a 14-year old boy attacking his mother and damaging her house.  When Edmonson County Deputy Austin Meredith arrived on the scene he was met at the front door by the mother who was bleeding from a cut on her face.  She said that her son was in the kitchen armed with a knife.  When Deputy Meredith entered the kitchen and told the boy to drop the knife he raised the knife over his head and advanced toward the Deputy yelling “I will f*ing kill you”.  Deputy Meredith and other Deputies who had arrived backed out onto the porch to give the young man some space.  Deputy Meredith continued to try and talk to the boy to de-escalate the situation, but the young man returned to the front door with a knife in each hand yelling treats at the Deputies.  At this point Deputy Meredith deployed his taser and the young man was finally subdued and arrested.  Once again, we see the courage and great restraint on the part of Deputy Meredith who would have been justified in using deadly force.  And so, one life maybe two, were saved that 23rd day of April, yet we won’t see any national news reports on the incident.  Why? Because no one was killed by responding Police Officers.

For his courage during a deadly force encounter, the KSA Medal of Valor was presented to Edmonson County Deputy Sheriff Austin Meredith. 

2021 KSA Medal of Valor

Deputy James Fox – Laurel County Sheriff’s Office
Deputy Hobie Daugherty – Laurel County Sheriff’s Office

In most of our larger cities, when an officer is confronted with a barricaded or concealed, armed suspect officers back off, secure the perimeter, and call for a SWAT team that can often respond within a short time.  But that’s rarely possible in the smaller communities or more rural areas of Kentucky.  On February 6th Deputies James Fox and Hobie Daugherty were dispatched for a concealed, armed suspect in the woods behind a residence in Laurel County threatening to shoot the resident inside.  There was no SWAT Team readily available and no FBI trained negotiators on hand.  They were on their own so they simply had to go into those cold, dark woods alone and search for this suspect knowing he would probably see them before they saw him.  Fortunately, the Deputies were able to quickly find the suspect just inside the tree-line laying on the ground with a hand gun pointed directly at Deputy Daugerty.  When the suspect refused to drop his weapon Deputy Daugherty fired in self-defense striking him in the shoulder and abdomen.  Both Deputies immediately rushed in and disarmed the man.  Following the arrest, they provided first-aid treatment until EMS arrived for transport to the hospital where the man survived.  For their courage and dedication to duty when confronted with a concealed, armed suspect, the KSA Medal of Valor was presented to Laurel County Deputies James Fox and Hobie Daugherty. 

Accepting for James Fox if Major Chuck Johnson (left of Deputy Daugherty)

2021 KSA Deputy Sheriff of the Year

Deputy Paul Campbell – Perry County Sheriff’s Office

The KSA Deputy of the Year for 2021 is a husband, a father, a lay minister, a Mason, an experienced investigator, a 15-year Law Enforcement Veteran, and a Stage 4 cancer survivor.  Every Sheriff knows the value of having at least on loyal, go-to deputy they can count on for most anything.  Perry County Sheriff Joe Engle says that Deputy in his office is Paul Campbell.  His tireless dedication and hard work helped his first-term Sheriff to bring the office out of the Stone-Age and into the 21st Century.  This included turning a broom closet called an evidence locker into a modern Property and Evidence area complete with bar code tracking and a separate area for weapons; obtaining computers for each Sheriff’s vehicle for a digital information environment; making the office more secure by installing security cameras and keyless entry for all doors; and helping to write and implement a complete Policy and Procedure Manual.  Additionally, Deputy Campbell has received two KSA Life Saving Awards during the past three years.  He is the go-to Deputy in the Perry County Sheriff’s Office and he’s the KSA Deputy of the Year, Perry County Deputy Sheriff Paul Campbell. 

2021 KSA Sheriff of the Year

Sheriff Joe Milam – Anderson County Sheriff’s Office

Our Sheriff of the Year is a thirty-three-year Law Enforcement Veteran.  Serving as a Kentucky State Trooper and Sergeant before taking office as the Anderson County Sheriff in 2009.  He is a Sheriff’s Sheriff and he believes in the simple basics of service – Honor, Integrity, Honesty, and Professionalism.  The hallmarks of his service include hard work and respect, treating others as you would want to be treated, knowing your employees and taking good care of them, caring about the community you serve, honoring the oath you took, and never forgetting who you work for.  Sheriff Milam has a small office but works hard to maintain a seven day a week, twenty-four- hour patrol.  He has built respect and partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies, and has deputies assigned to several different task force operations.  Education and the security of our school children are paramount to Sheriff Milam.  He has placed School Resource Officers in all six schools in Anderson County.  Four of them are fully funded by the school system and 50% at the remaining two schools are school funded.  Additionally, through the fund-raising efforts of his office he has been able to make a $5,000.00 donation each of the last three years to the Kentucky Sheriff’s Boys & Girls Ranch.  And that’s only a very brief review of our Sheriff of the Year.  This year we proudly presented the KSA 2021 Sheriff of the Year Award to Anderson County Sheriff Joe Milam. 

Sheriff Milam with his wife and daughters.