Marine Police Officer Tommy Haynes of Newville was recently honored by Governor Bob Riley and the Alabama Department of Conservation for his heroic efforts in rescuing 12 people in three separate incidents. Officer Haynes received Alabama’s Officer of the Year Award and recently received a Certificate of Valor and a Medal of Valor.
Officer Haynes, who patrols LakeEufaula, responded to a swamped vessel call on May 11, 2003, during inclement water and flood-stage, hazardous water conditions. When he arrived on the scene, he found four individuals clinging to a steep bank. Officer Haynes rescued the four individuals, transported them to safety, then returned to the swamped vessel and salvaged it from the flood waters in order to prevent further damage to it.
Then, on August 9, 2003, while on patrol, Officer Haynes observed a woman signaling frantically from a vessel. As he approached, Officer Haynes realized the vessel, which had two adults and four small children on board, was sinking in 70 feet of water. Acting quickly, he transferred the children and adults to his vessel, and then attempted to tow the sinking vessel to the nearest shore. It finally sank in four feet of water, where Officer Haynes and U.S. Coast Guard Officer Mike Briner, who arrived with a pump, recovered it and towed it to the trailer for loading.
On August 17, 2003, Officer Haynes responded to a missing boater call. At , during a heavy fog, he searched almost the entire lake until he found two individuals clinging to a partial submerged vessel. They had been in the water for 15 hours and were suffering from hypothermia and exhaustion. Officer Haynes rescued the men and transported them to shore so emergency personnel could transport them to the hospital for treatment.
Officer Haynes has shown himself to be a person of integrity and courage, and his accomplishments in the fields of enforcement and education have always proven him to be an exemplary officer. Although Officer Haynes would say he was “just doing his job,” people are alive today because of his dedication to duty and his commitment to the boaters of Alabama.
Left to Right: Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley, Marine Police Officer Tommy Haynes, his wife Vickie, and Governor Bob Riley.