Community Heroes: Sullivan County deputy sheriff receives life-saving award


SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) Dedicating the last ten years to law enforcement, one Sullivan County man has done it all- from working in prisons to working for the City of Kingsport as a patrolman.

He is now taking on a new task as a school resource officer for Holston Elementary School.

This week, we introduce you to deputy sheriff for the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, Zack Smith, as this week’s community hero.

“It’s a stressful job. There’s a lot of things that a lot of people don’t see. Police are a different breed of people and having to deal with people that are sometimes not appreciative or don’t want you there, it can be stressful,” Zack Smith said.

The deputy sheriff transitioned from being a patrolman to now a school resource officer, at Holston Elementary School, roughly two years ago.

Smith said, “It’s new. It’s totally different than patrol, there. Dealing with kids is a totally different ball game. You got to have a lot of patience. You can’t be too quick to anger with kids.”

However, Smith said the rewarding days make it all worth it.

Smith said, “I guess it’s just something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s hard to explain. It just feels like it was something for me.”

He recalled an incident that happened in May 2020. Smith said he was pulling into his driveway after his shift, when he heard a distressed dispatcher on the radio.

“It caught my attention and I didn’t turn the car off, and they said, ‘is there anybody close to this address. There’s a kid bleeding out. I was like, well I guess my day is not done yet,” Smith said.

He just happened to be minutes away from where a mom was holding her two-year-old who was bleeding extensively.

“He’s lost a lot of blood and it’s all- I mean, it’s everywhere,” Smith said. “I pulled my tourniquet out. I always carry a tourniquet on me. I pulled it out and he was bleeding from him armpit pretty bad. He had fallen through a table and a big shard of glass went up into his armpit.”

Smith was presented with the lifesaving award for his quick actions that saved the life of this child.

“It was a good day. It was probably one of the best day of my career. That’s the kind of stuff you get into police work for,” Smith said.

And that is why he’s our community hero.

If you know someone who makes our community a better place to live, we want to hear from you! Nominate them to be an ABC Tri-Cities Community Hero! Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to nominate them.

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