Statesville Officer Earns Troutman Rotary Club honor

officerBy Donna Swicegood This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Statesville Police Officer Darin Bumgarner displays “service above self” every time he puts on the uniform, said Troutman Rotary Club’s Pam Navey. But it was Bumgarner's actions during an August incident that led to him being awarded the club's inaugural First Responder honor this week. Troutman Rotary President Deb Brown said the board agreed that Bumgarner’s response at a house fire, along with his everyday work with Statesville and as a part-time officer with Troutman, made him an obvious choice for the first honor the club bestowed.

In early August, just a few days before his wedding to fellow SPD Officer Attrie Wooten, Bumgarner was the first on the scene at a house fire. “Darin, without even thinking ... went into to the house,” Navey said.  He was trying to rescue an elderly woman and her disabled son from the house. The smoke was too dense and Bumgarner was not able to get all the way into the house, but his efforts helped lead Statesville firefighters to the two and both were rescued. While those actions garner headlines, Navey said, Bumgarner does great things behind the scenes every day.

Bumgarner served as a school resource officer at Statesville High School and made an impact on the lives of students in and outside of the classrooms, she said. He started a fishing club and shared his love of the sport with the students. He also monitored social media to halt problems before they escalated into crisis, she said. Bumgarner, a former semi-pro baseball player, coached others in the sport. Iredell County Board of Commissioners Chairman James Mallory said recognizing first responders, from police officers to deputies to paramedics, is something all local Rotary Clubs plan to do, and he congratulated Bumgarner on his selection for the first award.

Troutman Police Chief Matthew Selves, who attended the recognition breakfast, said Bumgarner is deserving of this recognition. “I have seen first-hand Officer Bumgarner’s approach on handling situations and working with troubled youth,” he said. “Officer Bumgarner’s heroic efforts on the day of the fire and his continued efforts to build better community relations with the citizens of Statesville and Troutman shows he deserved this recognition,” he said. Statesville Police Chief Joe Barone echoed Selves’ praise of Bumgarner. “I am very proud of Darin for the personal sacrifices he is willing to make on behalf of our citizens,” he said. “Darin, as well as all of our local law enforcement officers, truly understand and honor our oath of office. I am truly proud of Darin’s accomplishments and his service.” Bumgarner said he was pleased to be selected, not just for himself, but as a recognition of officers as a whole.

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