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Six ACSO Officers to Get ‘Medal Of Valor’ for Courage in Warrenville Fire


ACSO Heroes   Six Aiken County officers who evacuated residents of a burning assisted-living facility in August will be presented the Medal of Valor from the S.C. Sheriff’s Association on Thursday.

A seventh officer with the S.C. Highway Patrol will also be honored for helping in the evacuation.

Being honored from the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office are:  (pictured from left, top row) Sgt. Daryl Kostyk and Deputies Ashley Meyer, Richard Oxendine, (second row) Savanna Phillips, Brian Ruge and Sylvester Young. SCHP Trooper First Class Jonathan Deas will also be honored at the Thursday evening ceremony at the Embassy Suites in Columbia.

The award is intended to “bring special recognition to those sheriff’s deputies who have displayed tremendous bravery or courage at some point in the previous calendar year,” a press release says.

On Aug. 17, 2017, a structure fire broke out at the Senior Village Assisted Living Facility in Warrenville. Before firefighters were able to arrive, the seven officers “immediately and without hesitation” entered the building and began evacuating residents. On the second floor, officers encountered heavy smoke and three of the officers found an apartment engulfed with fire.

“They entered the apartment without regard to their own safety,” Sheriff Michael Hunt said in an award nomination letter. “They were able to locate and rescued an elderly male whom sustained severe burns to his legs and feet.”

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Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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