FLORIDA—Nine Florida law enforcement officers have been recognized for rescuing a senior boater lost at sea.
At the recent Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Annual Protecting Seniors Law Enforcement Summit, Attorney General Ashley Moody presented Back the Blue Awards to nine heroic law enforcement officers and service members for lifesaving efforts to rescue the distressed senior boater.
The deputies and officers with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and US Coast Guard (USCG) arrived at the scene after receiving a call about an older Floridian in a small boat lost 15 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
With severe weather, the team searched for the man and brought the senior and the vessel back safely ashore.
During the summit, Moody surprised Sgt. Evan Marshall, Dep. James Sudlow II, Lt. Morgan Willis, Officer Ryan Gilbert, Chief Boatswains Mate Matthew J. Rollins, First Class Boatswains Mate Timothy J. Wilson, First Class Boatswains Mate Brigitta M. Bockhorn, and First Class Machinery Technician Justin A. Shue each with the Back the Blue Award.
“These heroic public servants risked their lives to rescue a senior in dangerous conditions. It was an honor to surprise them at the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Annual Protecting Seniors Law Enforcement Summit,” said Moody.
We work hard to protect seniors in Florida, and these individuals went above and beyond, through choppy water in dangerous weather, to bring this older Floridian safely back to shore. They help us build a Stronger, Safer Florida.”
After spotting a boater in distress, the USCG called CCSO to report a 16-foot aluminum vessel stranded roughly 15 miles off the shore of Crystal River. In a quick and collaborative effort, CCSO and FWC officers responded to the scene, rescued and returned the senior to shore.
A tornado struck Crystal River at approximately 2 a.m. the next morning and could have caused devastation to anyone stranded at sea.
Moody launched the statewide Back the Blue campaign soon after taking office in 2019. The campaign highlights law enforcement officers, citizens, and organizations taking extraordinary steps to forge positive relationships between law enforcement and local communities.
To nominate a law enforcement officer, citizen, or organization for a Back the Blue Award, or for more information about Attorney General Moody’s Back the Blue campaign, click here.