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Going above and beyond: Tennessee security officers honored for their heroic actions

The Tennessee Department of Corrections recognized two security staff members who went above and beyond the call of duty.
Larry Keaton and Cody Gatlin
Larry Keaton and Cody Gatlin(Tennessee Department of Corrections)
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 7:26 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Sergeant Cody Gatlin and Corporal Larry Keeton were recognized by the Tennessee Department of Corrections for their reactions to incidents while they were off duty.

Gatlin was on vacation with his family when he saw an SUV run a stop sign and T-bone a van. The van spun out of control and almost flipped before it landed directly in front of Gatlin and his family, according to the TDOC report.

Gatlin jumped into action and immediately began helping a pregnant woman and her two-year-old daughter inside the van. Gatlin determined they only had minor injuries and then went to help the other car.

The driver of the other car was trapped and could not feel her legs. Gatlin could not help remove the woman from her car but stayed until officers and first responders could respond.

A black SUV crashed in front of Gaitlin, and he had to act
A black SUV crashed in front of Gaitlin, and he had to act(TDOC)

Keeton was off duty, pumping gas when he saw a young man walking into the store with a loaded gun in his waistband. The man walked out of the store and shot the concrete two shots, shooting himself in the foot in the process.

The man walked to the side of the gas station, sat down and tossed the gun away. Keeton was worried that the man would hurt himself again or others, so he restrained him until the police arrived to take him into custody.

“If you were to talk to either one of these men, they would probably say their reactions were purely instinct,” said Commissioner Lisa Helton. “I on the other hand think it’s a deep-rooted passion to serve and protect others. Their actions were valiant and selfless, and I am proud to have Tennesseans like them working at TDOC.”

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