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Three honored for valor
Hailed for rescues on land, water
The Sextons, from left, Jonah, Leslie, Jake, J.D. and Josh applaud two sheriff’s deputies who were honored Wednesday for coming to the family’s rescue this summer on Lake Lanier. - photo by Autumn McBride
Three Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputies were honored Wednesday night for their heroic efforts.

Ryan Yeaton, Matthew Scott and Joseph Dumford each received a medal of valor for lifesaving measures they took while on duty this summer.

The ceremony was held at the sheriff’s north precinct, near Central Park.

Sheriff Ted Paxton said for those in uniform, an opportunity to help others can surface any day, at any time.

“You just never know where it’s going to be or when it’s going to be, and we hope we’re close enough when it does happen and we can make a difference,” he said.

Paxton explained that in the early morning hours of June 6, Yeaton was in the parking lot of Grace Baptist Church on Spot Road when he heard what sounded like a collision.

Upon further inspection, Yeaton discovered a vehicle had rolled several times and landed on the side of the road.

The engine compartment was on fire and the driver, Ryan Shaw, was inside.

Paxton said Shaw, who suffered a head injury, was “semi-alert” and Yeaton dragged him from the burning vehicle. The deputy kept him awake until an ambulance arrived.

Shaw was taken to North Fulton Hospital in Roswell, where he was treated and released.

Shaw was not able to attend the ceremony Wednesday night, but sent word that he was grateful for Yeaton’s lifesaving efforts and would never forget him.

Paxton said Scott and Dumford were patrolling Lake Lanier in a boat June 26, when someone on another vessel got their attention just north of the Hwy. 369 bridge.

As they approached, they heard Jake Sexton shouting for help to save his son. The deputies learned that 4-year-old J.D. Sexton had been injured by the boat’s propeller.

The boy’s leg was bleeding because of a severed artery. A tourniquet made from a rope wasn’t working.

Dumford removed his uniform shirt and used it to help control the bleeding while Scott called dispatch and requested emergency medical assistance.

Scott discovered that the cut, which appeared to go to the bone, wrapped around the boy’s leg.

He redressed the wound and continued to apply pressure while Dumford talked to the boy to keep him awake.

Sexton was flown to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite for treatment.

Wednesday night, the boy attended the ceremony with his family.

Jake Sexton said when he pulled his son out from under the boat that day, “I asked my heavenly father to help this earthly father save this boy and God aligned everything perfectly.”

“These two gentlemen, officer Matt and officer Joe, were in the exact right place that we needed them to be in order to save his life,” Sexton said.