A 13-year-old Grady County boy, Tyler Aldridge, thought he was coming to The Plaza Restaurant Friday morning to eat breakfast with law enforcement officers at the annual Law Day observance.
As breakfast wound down, Georgia State Patrol (GSP) Cpl. Craig Singletary recalled how he and other troopers responded to an April 5 crash on Whigham Road in Grady County where a 10-year-old died.
Aldridge, who lived nearby, ran from his house “in his socks” to help, Singletary said.
Aldridge ran toward a two-year-old girl, who reached up to him to be picked up. He returned the child to her mother.
Another child lay injured on the road. The teen stayed with the child, comforted him, told him he would not be alone and would be OK.
“Today, people run from trouble,” Singletary said. “This little man ran to it.”
The trooper said he is a better law enforcement officer because of knowing Aldridge. “He is a friend, and now he is a fishing buddy,” said Singletary, of Americus-based GSP Troop G.
Troop G Capt. Buddy Johnson discussed the “fight or flight” syndrome. “We either run to it, or we run from it,” he explained.
“There aren’t many who can be called a hero,” Johnson told the teen. The trooper presented Aldridge with Troop G’s first Hero Award.
Harris Blackwood, Governor’s Office of Highway Safety director, read a commendation on behalf of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.
The document pointed out Aldridge’s bravery, intelligence and selflessness.
Maj. Eddie Grier, GSP commanding officer, said he has seen “big men” run from situations witnessed by the teen.
Grier presented Aldridge, son of Michelle and Andy Aldridge and a Shiver Elementary School student, a certificate naming him an honorary Georgia state trooper.
Grier cautioned Aldridge that honorary trooper status would not get him out of a speeding ticket when he is old enough to drive.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ex. 1820.