Deputy Barry Whitfield of the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department has been honored as "Law Enforcement Officer of The Year" by The Military Order of The World Wars.
The award was announced during the group's March 16 annual banquet held at T-Bonz Steak House in Augusta. Presenting the award to Deputy Whitfield, who was accompanied by his wife, Gloria, was retired Maj. Charlie R. Beasley.
Deputy Whitfield, who makes his home in Thomson, has served as a deputy with the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department since moving to Thomson in 2000. He had worked with the Broward County Sheriff's Department in Florida prior to settling in McDuffie County with his family.
"I was deeply honored and touched by this military group having named me the recipient of this honor," Deputy Whitfield said Monday. "I am also grateful to Sheriff (Logan) Marshall for having nominated me for this honor. It makes me feel good to be recognized for doing my job - one that comes from the dedication of my heart. I love being a deputy and serving the people of McDuffie County."
Sheriff Marshall told officials of The Military Order of The World Wars that Deputy Whitfield has performed his duties "in a superb manner and accomplished valuable tasks."
The sheriff pointed out that Deputy Whitfield has been highly instrumental in teaching youngsters at R.L. Norris Elementary School about drug education and other life lessons through both the DARE and CHAMPS programs.
Deputy Whitfield, who also is a preacher, serves as neighborhood watch coordinator for the sheriff's department.
"It's a real pleasure to serve others when you love your job so much," said Deputy Whitfield.
Lt. Richard Herdegen, chairman of The Military Order of World Wars Law and Order Committee, wrote Deputy Whitfield a letter, thanking him for accepting the award nomination and quoting Maj. Beasley.
"Generally, you all are the first responders and when you all go out on duty, it's the same as being on the battlefield, because you never know where the action is coming from," Maj. Beasley was quoted as saying.
During the recent banquet, Deputy Whitfield was presented two plaques from officials of The Military Order of World Wars.