When Deputy Uriah Wood planned to give a presentation on the county’s Water Emergency Team, he had no idea the event he was attending was actually a ruse to surprise him with the Deputy of the Year Award.
Stunned and put off balance, Wood accepted the award from Seth Berg, Helena Exchange Club President Thursday afternoon. Along with the award came two $500 checks, one for the sheriff’s department and another to a charity of Wood’s choice. The Exchange Club presents the award each year to a law enforcement officer. The award alternates each year between Lewis and Clark County deputies and Helena city police officers.
Wood plans to give the donation to Lewis and Clark Search and Rescue stating, “The sacrifice and dedication they assume is overwhelming.”
Due to Deputy Wood’s keenness, Sherriff Leo Dutton says the elaborate scheme involving the Exchange Club lunch was the only way to surprise Wood. Along with taking charge of the WET, Wood supervised the mission to rescue U.S. Marine Noah Pippin from the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
“There is no other deputy more deserving of this award,” said Dutton.
WET, the program about which Woods was planning to give the presentation, was created last summer. The Water Emergency Team came to be from Wood’s experience as lake deputy for Canyon Ferry Lake. The team not only acts as a patrol force but is also responsible for educating the public about boating safety.