Columbus County Sheriff’s deputy honored for heroic actions during house fire

WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — A Columbus County Sheriff’s Deputy, who hasn’t even been working in law enforcement for a year yet is already making a big impact. His most recent work on the job has some people calling him a hero.

“I just saw somebody that needed help and it’s my job,” Deputy Zehnder said.

Five months on the job and Columbus County Sheriff’s Deputy Drew Zehnder is already a hero. In September, he came across a person waving their arms asking for help outside of a home full of smoke. Zehnder pulled up on the scene as the person yelled that someone was still inside the home and not responding. That’s when the first year Sheriff’s Deputy leapt into action.

“It’s kind of like a cliche, but it’s just another day on the job type of thing,” Zehnder said. It’s been mentioned before that I’ve been with the volunteer fire department for seven years. So, the adrenaline has kinda knocked itself down a little bit from when I first started, but it was just natural for me to go in.”

Those seven years as a volunteer firefighter helped save a man’s life that day. Today, Zehnder was honored for his heroic actions. North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshall Mike Causey presented him with the Save Award.

“The Save Award is an award that goes to the first responder that goes above and beyond to save a person’s life,” Causey said. “Had it not been for the quick thinking of Deputy Drew we might have had another fatality that day.”

Zehnder says he got into this profession to help people out no matter the circumstances and it just so happens sometimes you get the opportunity to save someone’s life.

“I mean I try not to be in the spotlight, I didn’t get into this to be in the spotlight,” Zehnder said. “It’s just kind of the way it works sometimes.”

Commissioner Causey traveled across the State of North Carolina today to hand out multiple Save Awards. He also presented the award to first responders in Laurinburg and Raeford.

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