Ga. deputy receives Medal of Valor for rescuing kidnap victim

Deputy Eric Madison was praised for giving chase to the suspect as he fled last summer


Erika Wells
The Augusta Chronicle

WAYNESBORO, Ga. — A Burke County Sheriff's deputy was honored Wednesday for his split-second decision that saved the life of a kidnapping victim last summer.

Gov. Brian Kemp presented the Medal of Valor to Deputy Eric Madison at the courthouse in Waynesboro, Ga. It's the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a public safety officer nationally.

Kemp said Madison was one of the "real heroes" of the community after encountering an armed suspect who had abducted a woman Aug. 10.

"Deputy Eric Madison did not count the costs or weigh his options when he showed up on the scene that day," Kemp said. "He vowed many years ago, as you all know, to serve and protect. ... He deserves all the praise and accolades that we can give him even though he doesn't want them."

Burke County sheriff's deputies were searching for a burgundy Toyota Camry, which Madison spotted that afternoon and stopped at the corner of Farmer's Bridge and Springhill Church roads.

The suspect fired shots that wounded the woman twice as she ran away. Madison returned fire and killed the man.

Previously, Madison served eight years in the Navy and earned a Purple Heart, Sheriff Alfonzo Williams said. Madison had graduated from the training academy shortly before the incident took place.

"It gives me chills just to stand here and talk about it," Williams said. "It's very emotional for me and I know it has been for him but we want you to know that we love you."

Cpl. Brian Pritchett, Sgt. Heather Bryant, Sgt. Cory Barr, Sgt. Eric McCants, Sgt. Paul Gay and Sgt. Lance Tucker, of the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety H.E.A.T. team, also were recognized for their recent promotions.

"I'm humbled to be with the men and women of such high character that sacrifice life and limb, who devote their lives by serving others and who are willing to risk it all in the name of public safety every single day," said Kemp, who was named an honorary deputy.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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