The fourth annual Pike County First Responder of the Year Awards Ceremony was hosted Oct. 11 by American Legion Post 197 with local heroes being honored.
“As we all know, first responders are essential for the enforcement of our laws, security and protection of our citizens and property, for the safety of our public and for the quick lifesaving actions required to get citizens to medical facilities,” said American Legion Post 197’s Bryan Richardson. “This ceremony is dedicated to recognizing stellar performances as law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical service members either as a Pike resident or whose duty assignment is within Pike County. We also take this occasion to thank all our first responders whose service is generally taken for granted.”
Officer of the Year
William “Bill” Walker was announced as the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Deputy Walker has been a resident of Pike since 2009. In 1983, he graduated from Loganville High School as the Salutatorian. Bill comes from a long line of law enforcement. His father and grandfather were career correctional officers and Bill is a direct descendant of the 1849 to 1853 sheriff of Pike County, Joseph R. Culpepper.
Bill served in the U.S. Air Force for 23 years and in 2003, he was selected as the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command, Maintenance Professional of the Year. In 2009, Bill moved back to Georgia, and worked in the landscaping business. In October 2012, he started his law enforcement career and was hired by the Pike County Sheriff’s Office. Prior to his employment, Bill already had experience as an emergency medical technician, firefighter and corrections officer. Deputy Walker works in the PCSO Civil Division with duties including serving civil documents and warrants; providing courthouse security for the Magistrate, Superior and Probate Courts; transporting inmates, supervising jailers; and verifying sex offender addresses. Deputy Walker sets up and mans the Sheriff’s Office booth at community events, providing security or traffic control at various local and outside the county events, and supporting Post 197 in community ceremonies.
“Deputy Walker will assist in any way possible and never complains, and performs above and beyond his duties,” said sheriff Jimmy Thomas.
“Deputy Walker has been a dedicated employee and has worked countless hours assisting other divisions when manpower has been short and has recently helped the E-911 Division by working as a dispatcher until it was staffed again, and has currently taken on the job as training officer for the Jail Division along with his other duties,” said sheriff Thomas.
When off-duty, Bill Walker works security at the Christ Chapel Community Church. He is a member of the Meansville Baptist Church, and is the chairman of the church security committee.
He also earned the honor in 2018.
Firefighter of the Year
Tim Lane, the fire chief for the Meansville Volunteer Fire Department was honored as the Pike County Fire Fighter of the Year. George Timothy Lane “Tim” has been a resident of Pike County since 1980. He lives in Lifsey Springs and he graduated from Pike County High School in 1983. He has worked for Delta Airlines for 32 years and currently works as an Aircraft on the Ground Specialist who quickly return aircraft back to service. Chief Lane’s firefighting career began in 1980. He has been volunteering as a firefighter for Pike and the city of Meansville for 43 years. Besides being a firefighter, he has held the rank of Captain, Battalion Chief and Fire Chief. Chief Lane is a State Certified Firefighter and has completed training in crash victim extrication, structural firefighting, liquefied petroleum gas, and several officer leadership courses.
Chief Lane provides the City Fire Station Operations Report at the monthly City of Meansville Council Meetings. This past year, Tim responded to 334 calls.
“Now, 334 calls is a little less than one call per day. For those of us who don’t really understand how long these calls are, 334 sounds like a lot of calls,” said Richardson. “Keep in mind, that Tim works 12-hour days, three to four days a week and travels at least two and a half hours round trip. So, most of his calls are on his days off, holidays or at night. On numerous occasions, Tim responds to a day call on his time off for a few hours, goes to bed, gets a night call for a few hours, gets back to bed, gets up early the next or same day, and travels to work. Now, when you think about it, the 334 calls a year becomes amazing and unbelievable how someone could volunteer that much. This is truly dedication.”
In his spare time, Tim enjoys being with his family. He is married to Venida and they have an adult daughter Lorissa who is married to Josh Gross. When he is not on calls or manning the fire station, Tim enjoys working on his farm raising cattle.
He is a member of the Rehoboth Nazarene Church. He is on the church and security boards.
“Dependability is a valued asset in any position, but as a firefighter it is one of Tim’s invaluable traits, at any time day or night, you can depend on him to render his service whole heartily to the Pike County Fire Department,” said Pike County fire chief Bobby Wilkerson.