Deerfield officer honored for aiding disabled man


For the Bulletin
Monday, November 14, 2016

DEERFIELD — A public servant was recently honored by Stavros for aiding a motorized wheelchair user who had crashed, fallen, and was unable to get back up.

Stavros is an advocacy group for elders and people with disabilities that works out of three offices in the Pioneer Valley.

One evening around 7 in late July, Police Sgt. Harry Ruddock III was driving down Stillwater Road when he noticed the distressed wheelchair user who had tumbled off the road and into a ditch.

According to an Aug. 1 article in The Recorder, Ruddock stopped to help out and called South County EMS, which took the wheelchair user to Baystate Franklin Medical Center for an evaluation.

Later, off-duty Highway Department workers gave their time to transport the wheelchair to the owner’s home.

For his efforts in community policing, Ruddock was given the Paul Winske Award, which annually recognizes community members who’ve “improved access for people with disabilities,” according to Stavros’ website.

“I had seen him earlier on Stillwater Road, and went back to make sure he’d made it home OK,” Ruddock said recently, remembering the incident. “It’s one of these community caretaking functions that we do, that every police department does, quietly, every day.

“That’s the service side, the community caretaking side,” he continued. “It’s something that we all do, fire, EMS. They don’t necessarily get noticed. This happened to get noticed.”

Ruddock added that the award “belongs to my brothers and sisters, all of us, including the DPW guys that helped get the wheelchair back.”