LAWRENCEVILLE -- Four Gwinnett firefighters were honored this week for saving lives, as part of Gov. Nathan Deal's annual Public Safety Awards.
The men, who were among 26 people statewide honored for acts of heroism or their contribution to public safety, were given medallions, and their names were added to a monument inside the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, where the ceremony was held Monday.
"I am honored to recognize our brave law enforcement officers and emergency responders who risk their lives every day to make our state a safer place," Deal said. "Public safety is one of the most solemn obligations of state government, and I thank these heroes for their selfless commitment to Georgia citizens."
Gwinnett firefighters Stanley Bowers, Michael Chastain and Michael Korb were honored for saving a woman from a burning minivan after a May 21 accident.
The men were returning to their Duluth fire station in the early morning hours when they came upon a scene where the minivan left the roadway and hit a tree. According to an account of the incident, the crew noticed the woman's legs under the dash of the passenger's side of the vehicle when they attempted to turn off the engine.
Bowers, Chastain and Korb were credited with pulling the woman from the wreckage as fire and smoke filled the van.
"Due to the quick and decisive actions of this crew, this patient will live to tell her story and share many more special moments with her family and friends," the ceremony's program said.
Another firefighter, John Matthew Webster, was recognized for helping save a family from drowning while on vacation.
On June 28, 2012, Webster was with his children at Panama City Beach when he heard someone screaming for help. According to the program, he helped a man struggling in the surf, and the man then pointed to his mother and three other family members struggling in deeper waters.
Webster was able to help an elderly woman, who was completely underwater, with a child struggling to hold her head on a boogie board. He also flagged down a passing jet skier to get two teens to shore.
"Webster's heroic, selfless actions undoubtedly helped save several lives that day," the program said.