Marion native awarded with Badge of Excellence

The recipients of the 2017 Badge of Excellence Awards: Joyce Holly, Donna Miller, Julie Tracy Lynch, Jerry Higgins, Shaketria Lindsey, Christie Adams, John Phillip Hegger Jr., Curt D. Johnson, Tiffany Pate, Katie Webster, Eric Wiseman, Angelena Coople, Elizabeth Harrington, Kelley Ann Siboun, Major Nathan “Nate” Barron, Phillip Burleson, Trooper Andrew DePoyster, Brandon Gallagher, Jarrid Lake, Lorn “Glen” Webb. Not pictured: Gwen Norville (posthumous award)

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A Marion native was among 21 public service members honored for their commitment and dedication throughout the year.

Trooper Andrew DePoyster of the N.C. Highway Patrol in Buncombe County was honored by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) at the 2017 Badge of Excellence Awards Ceremony.

The ceremony, held in Raleigh on Tuesday, recognized DPS employees who have made outstanding contributions to the department’s mission of improving quality of life through enhanced public safety. The Badge of Excellence program promotes department-wide recognition of these employees and celebrates their impactful contributions to the overall goals and mission of the department, North Carolina state government and to North Carolinians.

“Today, we honor 21 exceptional public servants — public servants who have been selfless in their attitudes and actions, exemplary team players, leaders outside the agency, valuable ambassadors, proactive, honorable and brave,” said Secretary of Public Safety Erik A. Hooks. “Through their services to others the recipients have set themselves apart. They have demonstrated courage, competence, defied difficulties and distractions, all for the greater good. They have shed a positive light on DPS.”

DePoyster, born and raised in Marion, has been with the State Highway Patrol for over two years. The award, he says, was surprising.

“I wasn’t expecting anything like this. This is the highest award given by the Department of Public Safety, and I know several people who probably deserve this just as much,” said DePoyster. “But I’m grateful to receive it.”

During the ceremony, DePoyster was recognized for responding to an incident on I-40 in Buncombe County involving an unresponsive driver.

“I was doing radar at the time on the interstate, and a gentleman pulled up to tell me about a reckless driver in a tractor trailer,” said DePoyster. “The trailer suddenly drove past us, slowly drifted to the left lane and collided with a guard rail. When I investigated the scene, I found the driver slumped over the steering wheel without a pulse.”

After DePoyster dispatched for emergency services, he began CPR and resuscitated the driver before he was transported for treatment and substance evaluation.

“I didn’t know if it was my time to be there, but I knew he could’ve kept going on and hurt someone on the road,” said DePoyster.

Terry DePoyster, Hankins Fire Chief and Andrew’s father, and his wife Vicki were moved upon hearing about their son’s recognition.

“He was born and raised into a life of public service,” said Terry DePoyster. “He was one of our first junior firefighters in McDowell, and continues to be a volunteer firefighter. He was performing a stable radar patrol when that incident occurred on the interstate and was able to make sure that no one was hurt. We’re so proud of our son and dedicating his life to helping others.”

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