First Responders: Hugh Ratsch with Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Named ‘First Responder of the Year’

We’re showing appreciation today for those who usually don’t get noticed for their work. Deputy Hugh Ratsch with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is this year’s ‘First Responder Hero of the Year.”

Ratsch, a fairly new deputy, has gone above and beyond to help the people of Montgomery County several times in the past year. He’s a servant who said it’s the little things that bring him the most fulfillment… and this is why he received the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office’s highest award.

It was one a.m. when he got the call that a man on the Alabama River had been missing for nearly 12 hours.

“He never came back to where his location was,” Ratsch said. “He was working on a jet ski, and he’d been missing since two p.m.”

That’s when Deputy Hugh Ratsch didn’t just hop into his patrol car like usual… he got into a boat on the Alabama River.

“He had a glow stick that he was waving and trying to get our attention,” Ratsch explained. “We let him know ‘Sheriff’s Office’ to put him at ease and let him know we were here to come and save him.”

This, a task Marine Patrol would usually take on. The division, though, couldn’t respond until later that morning. When Ratsch heard the call, he said he was the first on the scene, even though the task is not in his job description: “I made a difference, you know, I was to get on there and do what I can. Even if it meant the river and everything was pitch black. Our flashlights were going out.”

Captain Robert Irsik is Ratsch’s supervisor and says this is the prime example of law enforcement. He explained law enforcement and water usually don’t mix too often, but when a situation is happening and no one else can respond, deputies step up to the plate.

“We’re never given scenarios where everything is completely laid out,” Irsik said. “This is how you respond to it. Each incident is unique into itself, and this is just one of those incidents when he was there, and it needed to be done, and he is the one who made it happen.”

“If I can help somebody… They may be having a bad day… If I can put that change, you know, it’s big,” Ratsch told Alabama News Network.

Deputy Ratsch encourages people who take on the water to always have a means of communication and keep someone updated on changing whereabouts.

He has been with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office for roughly three years.

Alabama News Network presents our First Responder Award with the help of our sponsor, Wettermark Keith.

Categories: Montgomery, News