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Watkins awarded Medal of Valor

Photo courtesy Sheriff Waters Deputy Tyler Watkins was awarded the Medal of Valor last week by the Kentucky Sheriff’s Association. He was nominated for the award by Sheriff Waters.

By Greg Bird

McCreary County Sheriff’s Deputy Tyler Watkins, who was shot twice while responding to a welfare check on July 16th, was honored last week by the Kentucky Sheriff’s Association at their annual convention on Bowling Green.
Watkins was presented the Medal of Valor for his quick-thinking actions on the night of the shooting. Despite being shot at, and hit, Watkins was able to retreat to cover and return fire on the individual. His actions, it was noted, forced the suspect to leave the scene, potentially saving the lives of the people in the nearby home.
Nominated for the award by McCreary County Sheriff Randy Waters, Watkins said he knew that he was to receive some award at the conference, but was taken aback when it was announced he was receiving the Medal of Valor.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” Watkins said. “I had just learned that week that I was getting a medal, but to be the Medal of Valor was a surprise to me and Sheriff Waters. It was a great honor, and my family was so happy for me.”
The medal was awarded to Watkins
Watkins was honored along with Lincoln County Deputy Colby Reik, who saved lives following a devastating gas pipeline explosion last month.
Watkins, who was shot twice in the July incident – once in the chest and once in the abdomen – is recovering at home, and is eager to get back on duty.
“It’s going good,” Watkins said of his convalescence. “I’m walking more and more on my own now. I’m not bound to the wheelchair, and that’s a good thing.”
He said the wounds from the shooting are healing nicely, and the biggest issue he has had to deal with during the recovery is pain from nerve damage he suffered.
For a while, Watkins said, he had bad pains in his feet and legs, preventing him from walking without severe pain. But those pains have subsided, for the most part, and Watkins is working every day to regain his strength. He is walking with just a slight limp, and hopes that will soon disappear.
“95 percent of the nerve pain is gone,” Watkins said. “I still get some tingling in my toes, particularly when I’m wearing shoes.”
“I am working to get my strength back and am shooting to return to duty on January 1st.”
Watkins said the shot that struck him in the chest, which was protected by an armored vest, has just left a small knot where the bruising was, and the entry wound in his abdomen is almost completely healed. The exit wound, in his back side is healing well, and his girlfriend, Kayla Petrey, a nurse, is helping him dress the injury.
Watkins said he is continually grateful for the support and encouragement from the community during his recovery. He was honored at a McCreary Central Football halftime ceremony last week, along with other first responders from the county.
Point Blank, the company that produced the body armor credited with saving Watkins’ life, is providing the officer with an all-expenses paid trip to their corporate offices in Pompano Beach, Florida to view their production line and outfit him with a new custom-fitted vest in the coming months.
The man arrested in the shooting, Mark Dungan, has been indicted on counts of Attempted Murder, Tampering with Physical Evidence, Criminal Mischief, Possession of a Handgun by a Convicted Felon, Fleeing or Evading Police, Wanton Endangerment and Resisting arrest.
He has an arraignment hearing set for September 24th.

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