There was evidence of surprise on the face of Blount County Sheriff’s deputy Josh Antras when his name was called at a gathering Monday with Sheriff James Berrong and fellow deputies.
The field training officer’s facial expression gave him away when Berrong called the squad room to order and immediately called Antras to the front of the room, announcing that he was the Blount County Sheriff’s Office Deputy of the Year for 2007.
“I was very surprised,” the 1998 Heritage High School grad said after the meeting.
Berrong said that after Antras put himself through the Law Enforcement Academy at Walters State Community College, he began his career at the sheriff’s office in 2001 in the Correction’s Division. In April 2005, Antras was moved to patrol where he has excelled in his duties, said Berrong, and in March was named Officer of the Month.
On March 9, Antras responded to a call at a residence of an elderly woman who had called 911 on her cell phone. The woman stated that she had no money and that her power had been cut off. Once Deputy Antras arrived on the scene, the woman told the officer she was on a fixed income, had very little money, and had used what monetary resources she had to help her adult children. She had no power, no flashlight and very little food.
“Deputy Antras displayed an overwhelming compassion for a member of our community who needed help,” said Berrong. “Deputy Antras went to the store and, with his own money, purchased supplies and food for the woman. He supplied her with flashlights, batteries and grocery items, as well as food for her cat. He took the time to light candles in her house, and test the flashlights to make sure they were working. He contacted her church and notified them of her situation. Deputy Antras went way beyond what was required of him regarding this incident.”
Berrong said the deputy displayed qualities “of a true hero in this situation. This woman’s welfare, safety and even her life, were in jeopardy. He could have easily referred her situation to another community agency and walked away.”
Berrong said Antras is an excellent patrolman and is always consistent and loyal in his duties. “He showed compassion beyond measure in this instance. We are very honored to have an officer of his caliber in our ranks,” the sheriff said.
Chief Deputy Ron Dunn echoed the sheriff’s assessment. “He went well beyond the call of duty,” Dunn said regarding Antras’ actions. “He took money out of his own pocket and that says a lot for him.”
Antras said when he arrived at the woman’s home, it was cold. “She said she didn’t have any power. She didn’t have any flashlights or means of supporting herself,” he said. “I felt bad for her. I thought it was definitely the Christian thing to do.”