On October 2nd, Anderson County Sheriff Russell Barker will be recognized as the 2021 First Responder of the Year by the non-profit organization, Operation Angel Wing (OPAW). OPAW is an organization that works as a liaison specifically targeting the individual needs of American veterans/first responders and their families suffering from the devastating effects of Post-Traumatic Stress as a direct result of their service. Operation Angel Wing is dedicated to aiding and assisting our service men and women in whatever capacity needed as a single or family unit.
“Out of eighteen thousand law enforcement agencies in the U.S to introduce the proactive concepts of Peer Advocacy within their agency, only five percent have been inducted. Sheriff Barker’s concern and take action mentality to introduce the OPAW Peer Advocacy Training and Support Program in his agency has catapulted him to the frontline in regards to battling our nation’s mental and behavioral health crisis” stated OPAW’s Mary Millsaps. Millsaps went on to say “Sheriff Barker is an example of a true community leader keeping his men and women of service not only safe, but mentally and emotionally well.”
Sheriff Barker believes the OPAW program is life changing. “It truly is an honor to be recognized by this amazing organization. The work they do for those who are called to serve their country and community is truly remarkable. They are changing and reforming lives daily” Barker stated.
Sheriff Barker will accept this honor at the sixth annual George H. Neeley Veterans Memorial Fundraiser at Big Ridge State Park from 12:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.