Sgt. Josh Powell and Deputy Charlie Featherston were recently named the 2012 recipients of the Sgt. Nashawn M. Garland Deputy of the Year Award. Sgt. Nashawn M. Garland served the Hempstead County Sheriff’s office for 16 years as a reserve deputy, detention officer, courthouse security deputy and deputy sheriff before losing his battle with diabetes in March of 2011.
The award is given annually to the deputy sheriff, detention officer and reserve deputy that best represents Sgt. Garland’s work ethic, dedication and faithfulness.
The 2012 award was presented to Sgt. Powell and Deputy Featherston at the Hope Rotary Club on Thursday, December 13, 2012, by Sheriff James Singleton and Rotary President Clay Lance who presented the two with plaques and a gift certificate from the Hope Rotary Club.
The two deputies received the award for their actions while off duty in helping rescue a Hempstead County resident and his 13-year-old son near Bois d’Arc Lake in December of 2011.
The following is an account of that incident:
On December 11, 2011, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Sgt. Josh Powell and Deputy Charlie Featherston, who were off duty, were at Bois d’Arc Lake in southern Hempstead County setting and retrieving yo-yo’s when they overheard someone calling for help near the area of Hatfield Landing. The men began to follow the call for help to the back side of the lake. As they got closer they heard the voice of a man who told the two Deputies that he and his 13-year-old soon had been coon hunting and had gotten into a creek that was deeper than it appeared, causing the 13-year-old to get into water over his head. Due to the thick brush, the deputies were unable to reach the two.
Sgt. Powell called 911 for help and the Spring Hill Fire Department, Hempstead County deputies and Arkansas Game and Fish officers responded to the call. Sgt. Powell and Deputy Featherston were able to get close enough to put a Spring Hill fireman near enough that he could reach the two by foot. The fireman started a fire to warm the two until other firemen could carry a small boat by hand approximately 200 yards before getting to water.
The firemen were able to reach the two and bring them back to the bank where they were treated. Other than being cold and wet the two were okay.
It is my belief that had it not been for Sgt. Powell and Deputy Featherston, who were the only people at the lake fishing at that time of night, the man and his son could have suffered more serious injuries. And had Sgt. Powell and Deputy Featherston not had the dedication and drive to help their fellow-man things could have been very different.
Both Sgt. Powell and Deputy Featherston acted off duty as they do on duty each day, serving the citizens of Hempstead County in a professional, caring and dedicated manner. It is an honor to have such dedicated men serve as deputies during my tenure as sheriff.
Also named the Reserve Deputy of the Year for 2012 was Deputy Lonnie Friend of McCaskill. The Detention Officer of the year was Officer James T. Wise.