Officers awarded for valor

Published 10:48 am Wednesday, September 25, 2019

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The Virginia Sheriff’s Association has awarded Lieutenant Charlie Brinkley and Deputy Dustin Brown of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department with the Valor Award for their heroic efforts during Tropical Storm Michael last October.

The award was presented on Sept. 12 during the Annual Virginia Sheriff’s Association conference in Williamsburg.
Brinkley and Brown are credited for saving the life of a 17-year-old when the vehicle he was riding in was swept into floodwater, but the two say they were just doing their job.

According to Brinkley, when he and Brown arrived on the scene on Mt. Harmony Road, they noticed that no one was in the vehicle but could hear someone yelling. “We went into the water knee level, and Deputy Brown spotted the teen cling to the guardrail,” said Brinkley.

According to Virginia State Police, the other occupants of the vehicle, Ruby S. Allen, 62, and her son, Ronnie Allen Jr., 36, of Eureka, were swept away in the flash flood.

The two officers were able to use a six-foot dog leash that was in an SUV they were driving to tie around the teen’s wrist. Brinkley said that he and Brown then locked arms and took slow steps in the waist-deep water to pull the teen out of harm’s way. “I told him ‘do not let go of the rail,’” said Brinkley. “The water was just rushing so hard, and you could hardly hear anything,” added Brown.

The two may have been awarded for their bravery, but they are quick to point out that there are other Fire, Police and EMS personnel that were working just as hard to keep citizens safe that day.
“It’s a great honor, but it still comes with the tragedy of losing two people,” said Brinkley. “Everybody in the community was doing the best they could to save as many people as they could.”