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Real life savers

Deputy Darryl Ware and Robert Berry were recognized by Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington Tuesday for their courageous choice to step in and help save two people’s lives. Ware helped a man escape an apartment complex while Berry saved a man from an electrocution while working on a transformer.

BSO deputy, Cypress Black Bayou director saved the lives of others 

When faced with an emergency, what would you do?

Would you stand by and watch or would you step in and help? That’s the choice two Bossier Parish residents had to make earlier this year when other lives were at stake. Because of their actions, Deputy Darryl Ware and Robert Berry were recognized by Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington Tuesday for their courageous choice to step in and help.

Deputy Darryl Ware, a five-year veteran with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office, responded to a call about a fire at the Reserve Apartments on the morning of Jan. 25. Ware was the first deputy on scene, along with a volunteer fire fighter, and found an entire eight unit building engulfed in flames.

Seven of the apartments were occupied at the time. The fire originated from a first floor unit, blocking access to the stairway leading to the second floor units.

“I tried to assess the whole situation. I didn’t see anyone in the building, but I was trying to get occupants away from the fire,” Ware said.

Ware then discovered from those residents that there was one person unaccounted for. Troy Cummings was the sole occupant of an upstairs unit who had not made it out.

Because the stairs were blocked, Ware proceeded to climb up the building from the first floor patio fence to the second floor balcony. He knocked on the door and pounded his fist against the wall until Cummings came to the door.

“I knew I had to get him out,” Ware said. “That was pretty much my whole thought process. You don’t have time to think in instances like that. You just act.”

Cummings had been asleep and had no idea that the building was on fire or that the flames blocked his front door. Ware sprung into action and helped Cummings down from the second floor balcony to safety on the ground.

Ware was presented the BSO’s Commendation Award, the first one that Whittington has presented.

“Deputy Ware displayed great courage with his actions,” Whittington said. “We are grateful to him and his level of professionalism as a member of the team here at the Bossier Sheriff’s Office.”

Ware accepted the award on behalf of the BSO night shift and the deputies and firefighters who were also on the scene that early January morning.

“I feel like I didn’t do anything special. I did what anyone else would do, police officer or not,” Ware said. “When you see someone who needs a helping hand, it’s out job as human beings to help each other.”

His wife, Krystal Ware, beamed proudly from his side.

“I’m proud of him,” she said. “I feel like he would have done that in a uniform or not. That’s just the kind of person he is.”

Just days after the fire, emergency crews responded to an electrical accident at Cypress Black Bayou in Benton. Contractors Brandon Beaver and Kevin Snell had been working on a ground-level transformer on Feb. 6 when Beaver came in contact with a live electrical circuit.

Because the men were working so close together, Snell, too, felt the surging circuit. Robert Berry, executive director of Cypress Black Bayou, was nearby and saw the men in trouble.

Without hesitating, Berry stepped in and managed to separate the men with his own body, putting him in harms way too.

“Both of them were in an extreme situation,” Berry said. “All I did was what I’d think anyone else would do. I knew I couldn’t grab them, but I dove in to knock them lose to try and save both of them.”

All three men were taken to the hospital for their injuries. Berry and Kevin Snell survived their injuries, but Beaver did not.

“It’s a tragic accident,” Berry said emotionally. “You make a split decision and react. It’s human nature. You put everything aside and do what you have to do to save their life. The hardest thing to deal with is knowing you saved one, not both of them.”

Whittington presented Berry with the BSO’s Outstanding Achievement Award.

“We are pleased to know that Kevin is still with us today because of the heroic actions of Robert,” Whittington said. “I commend Robert for his actions. He made a difference that day without hesitation and without thinking of his own safety. He dove in, took immediate action and saved a man’s life because of it.”

Berry simply asks the public to continue praying for the Beaver and Snell family as they emotionally and physically recover from the accident.

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