Eight employees from the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office were recognized for their heroism, bravery and acts of kindness during the commissioners’ court meeting Tuesday at the Ellis County Courthouse.
Sheriff Chuck Edge kicked off remarks by recognizing corporal Tony Mikeska and deputy Chad Raney for their quick and decisive actions during a water rescue last year. On Dec. 26, 2018, Mikeska was dispatched to a submerged vehicle that was stuck on the southbound service road of Interstate 35 East.
“Upon his arrival, he observed a white vehicle in the water with one occupant inside,” Edge recalled. “Corporal Mikeska yielded out to the driver. The driver did not respond.”
Eventually, Mikeska made contact with the driver through his cell phone. Edge explained that the driver could not open his doors or roll down his window due to the rapidly rising waters.
Edge continued that the driver climbed through the back seat into the trunk of the vehicle. The driver then opened the trunk of the vehicle, only to be met by a sea of harsh current splashing at him.
“He was still trapped in the rapidly moving water,” Edge remarked.
Raney gave Mikeska a rope from his vehicle to throw out to the driver in the car, but the line was lost in the rushing current. Mikeska decisively threw a tow strap around his waist and entered the rushing water, with Raney anchoring the line from shore. Mikeska recovered the driver and pulled him away from the submerging vehicle.
“Corporal Mikeska’s quick actions and exceptional courage saved the driver and allowed him to return to his family,” Edge stated to the court.
Edge awarded Mikeska with the Life-Saving award and Raney with the Outstanding Service and Commendation Award. He told Mikeska and Raney that their actions reflect well on themselves, their families and the department they represent. He concluded by thanking them for their service.
After Mikeska and Raney were excused, Edge called criminal investigators Lt. Shane Thompson, Sgt. Joe Fitzgerald, Richard "Chip" Hundley, Nicholas Schindler, Josh Key and staff member Katie Gildner to the court.
In December 2018, these investigators were involved in an investigation that resulted in several arrests for multiple aggravated robberies throughout the Dallas area, including one home invasion near Red Oak.
Upon further investigation, they learned one of the suspects had a wife and three small children that depended on his income. With the suspect now behind bars, his family had no food in the house and was not expecting to have a Christmas last year.
Edge remarked that the investigators couldn’t let that happen. He commented that the group reached out to local non-profits to assist the family. Food and gifts were purchased, and they even obtained a Christmas tree and decorations for the family's holiday.
“Their actions went above and beyond the duties of ECSO investigators and supervisors,” Edge expressed. “Their dedication to their profession and their compassion for their fellow man deserves to be commended.”
Edge gave the investigators Meritorious awards, congratulated them and excused them from the meeting. County judge Todd Little thanked the investigators for their service to Ellis County.