A group of local community leaders led by Bird Hodges held the 2022 Bulloch County Public Servants awards dinner on Thursday, November 18, 2022 at Lakeside Dining Commons on the Georgia Southern campus.

The annual dinner was established in 1976 and the awards portion of the program was added in 2018.

Public Servants
Bulloch County Public Servants at the awards ceremony Credit: Grice Connect

All Bulloch County Public Servants are invited to attend the annual event free of charge. In addition, Hodges and his team provide to go plates for all public servants working on Thursday night who could not attend the event in person.

Assisting Hodges with the event is John Smith, Ricky Helton, Jake Futch and the Deal’s Funeral Directors team.

From the nominations the selection committee, which includes Retired Statesboro Police Chief Stan York, retired GBI SAC Charles Sikes and Bulloch County Commissioner Jappy Stringer, selects the award recipients.

Every Bulloch County Public Safety agency nominates an outstanding public servant from their department. From the eleven nominees, the selection committee choose the Outstanding Public Servant Officer of the Year. This is the highest honor given to a public safety officer annually.

The evening was filled with stories of dedication, bravery and commitment to our community by these men and women. It also identifies the incredible sacrifices these men and women make to help protect our community daily.

Below is full video of the awards ceremony

Public Servant Meritorious Service Awards

The committee began the awards in presenting the Medal of Meritorious award posthumously to Terry Harville who died earlier this year and to Ricky Hutchison who recently retired with over 40 years of service to our community as a firefighter.

Terry HarvilleBulloch County Sheriff Department
Ricky HutchisonBulloch County Fire Department

Public Servant Officers of the Year Award Nominees

Each public safety agency nominates an outstanding individual from their agency for the award. During the ceremony each nominee was introduced and a brief explanation of why they were nominated by their department head. Each nominee received an Award for Valor Nominee plaque.

Gerry HarvilleSheriff Noel Brown and Captain Sheryl Hagan presented the award to Deputy Terry Harville posthumously on behalf of the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department
Ricky HutchinsonBen Tapley, Bulloch County Fire Chief presents award to Retired Firefighter Ricky Hutchison on behalf of Bulloch County Fire Department
Lloyd ShurlingParamedic Captain Lloyd Shurling receives the award from Doug Vickers, Bulloch County EMS Director on behalf of Bulloch County EMS
Trevin GoodmanChris DeMarco, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 5 Special Agent in Charge presents Trevin Goodman, GBI Special Agent the award on behalf of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation
Katie HodgesClay Gracen, Georgia Southern University Department of Public Safety Deputy Chief presents the award to Officer Katie Hodges on behalf of Georgia Southern University Department of Public Safety
Chris CuddingtonLee Weaver, former Post 45 Commander presents the award to Master Trooper Chris Cuddington on behalf of the Georgia State Patrol
Nick HuntTim Grams, Statesboro Fire Chief presents the award to Firefighter Nick Hunt on behalf of the Statesboro Fire Department
Eric SimmsMike Broadhead, Statesboro Police Chief presents the award to Sargent Eric Simms on behalf of the Statesboro Police Department
Kerri Borgman
Kelly Barnard, Director of Bulloch County 911 accepted the award on behalf of Kerri Borgman who is recovering from surgery and could not attend on behalf of the Bulloch County 911
Brandy HewettGary Roberts, Brooklet Police Chief presents the award to Detective Brandy Hewett on behalf of the Brooklet Police Department
Stacey Tapley Victor Dowdy, Air Evac Lifeteam 95 Director presents the award to Flight Nurse Practitioner Stacey Tapley on behalf of the Air Evac Lifeteam 95

Bulloch County Outstanding Public Servant Officer of the Year 2022

Georgia Southern University Department of Public Safety officer Katie Hodges was named the 2022 Public Safety Officer of the Year. Read more about Officer Hodges here.

Bulloch County Commissioner and Committee Member

Bulloch County Outstanding Public Servant Officer of the Year recipients

Tracy L. MillerBulloch County Sheriff Department2018
Robert L. Scott, Jr.Georgia State Patrol2019
Merritt KernsStatesboro Fire Department2020
Bobby DurdenBulloch County Sheriff Department2020
Stephen HerndonBulloch County Sheriff Department2021
Bobby IveyBulloch County EMS and Portal P.D.2021
Katie HodgesGeorgia Southern University Department of Public Safety2022

Public servant deaths for 2022

Each public safety member, retired or active, who died this past year was recognized with a service award. Many of them had family members who attended and received this award and recognition on behalf of their loved one.

Terry HarvilleBulloch County Sheriff Department
Casey RogersGeorgia State Patrol
Gary OglesbyGeorgia State Patrol
James DychesStatesboro Fire Department & Bulloch County Rescue
Charles “Rick” MockStatesboro Police Department
Lee Weaver
Former Post 45 Commander with family members of Casey Roger and Gary Oglesby Credit: Grice Connect
Terry Harville family
Sheriff Noel Brown with members of Terry Harville’s family Credit: Grice Connect

This annual event is one that the public servants look forward to annually. It is made possible thanks to the generous contributions of local businesses and citizens annually.

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...