By Samantha Joseph
MARTIN COUNTY -- Deputy Michael Wagner has not spoken to the man he pulled from a burning house last summer. He doesn't know the man's name or what caused the fire. But when he arrived on the scene just before midnight last July 4, witnesses told him a man was trapped in the building.
What he did next -- rush into the burning house in Hobe Sound -- would later earn him recognition as an outstanding employee of the Martin County Sheriff's Office.
"I wasn't too worried about it at that time," said Deputy Wagner, a 27-year-old who had been on the job about eight months when he undertook the rescue. "I was just trying to get to the guy inside."
His actions did not go unnoticed. On Dec. 23, Deputy Wagner was one of several people Sheriff Robert Crowder honored with "Good Samaritan" awards and several employees for dedication to public service.
The award came days before firefighter EMT Jahwann McIntyre sustained third-degree burns fighting a blaze and searching for survivors.
But Deputy Wagner said he had to time to think of the potential danger.
"I just felt like it was another day at work," he said. "I was doing what any of our other deputies would have done in that situation."
Last month, Sheriff Crowder gave him the office's "lifesaving award" for rescuing the man who collapsed while trying to fight the fire, hit his head and was trapped between the bed and dresser.
"There was a lot of blood coming from his head, and he was covered in black ash," Deputy Wagner said. "I asked him if it was OK to lift him up, then I put my arms under his and lifted him up."
The deputy was not the only one to rescue a distressed resident.
Deputy Robin Johnston also got a lifesaving award for using the Heimlich maneuver to save a colleague.
Civilians Bill and Ashley Cloud also got recognition for their part in rescuing a man trapped in mangroves. The pair was out on their paddleboat last September when they heard a man calling for help.
"While Ashley called 911 and remained on the phone with dispatchers, Bill made his way deep into the mangroves to the victim," according to information released by the sheriff's office. "The victim advised that he had been in the mangroves four days after getting lost on a nature trail. He was severely dehydrated."
Also recognized were Deputy Jan "Glenn" Muse, named Employee of the Year; and Detective Yesenia Carde, Deputy Altolane Parks and Deputy Joanne Figdoreall of whom got nods for outstanding performance in their departments.
Michael Gauroniak was named outstanding civilian; Terry Brown was best volunteer and Sgt. Perry Ewell and Deputy Robert Ray got the "distinguished service award"
Also among those recognized for their service were deputies Robert Calarco, Anthony Grillo, Jason Hickman, Parker Henry, Eric Knott and Nurse Kevin Flanigan.