Dale Wyman wants to thank all of you.
The Bolivar Bulletin Times newspaper, inspired by TIME's "Person of the Year," created an open ballot for nominations for their person of the year. The community repeatedly tossed Wyman's name into the hat.
The open ballot was so in favor of Wyman, a Hardeman County Sheriff's deputy, that he even beat out the sheriff.
"I was overwhelmed that all those people would show out for me," he said. "Got to be my good looks."
The community submitted 150 names, with about a dozen individuals nominated. Country residents, though, rallied behind their local hero, in a gesture of thank you.
Wyman isn't the kind of man who seeks attention, but many in Hardeman County say his actions sign him up for it.
"It gets me choked up a lot," he said. "I'm just so proud to be part of this community."
He's not a politician, businessman, or famous speaker. Some say he is a hero.
"I didn't do anything that the other guys and girls wouldn't have done," Wyman said. It just happened to be me that day."
The Hardeman County Sheriff's deputy was responding to a wreck call, when he spotted a car in the middle of a Bolivar Road in August 2012.
"All I remember is hitting the breaks, and losing control," he recalled.
Wyman swerved off the street to avoid another wreck.
The deputy, known for keeping people up, is paralyzed from the chest down.
"I broke my neck and from the armpits down," he said. "Can't feel a thing."
"He put himself in harms way in order to protect somebody else," said Amelia Carlson, who organized the award. "That's why the county felt he was a hero."
Wyman's wife Anita juggles their homebound 9-year-old son Zach, who suffers from leukemia, and her husband's disability. Anita says she's leaned on the community for support, including the deputies who check in at odd hours.
"They'll be nights I'm up at 1 in the morning, hear a siren go by," she said. "I love to hear it - 1 in the morning I've heard them."
The retired Army Sgt. 1st Class said he misses caring for his array of pets most, but is grateful his neighbors do.
"I want to thank all off folks in this community," he said. "If I do get me back I hope I can go around and help people in anyway I can."
While Wyman says he's not sure why God placed him in this position, he plans to make the best out of it.
"There's no telling," he said. "Might be this way for life, might be this way tomorrow and get some feeling so I just try to keep a positive attitude."
Wyman retired from the Army in 2005 and joined the Hardeman County Sheriff about three years ago. He would like to return to the department one day, and hopefully continue his former part time gig as a dogcatcher.
In order to qualify as a nominee for the Bolivar Bulletin Times award, you must live in Hardeman County. The winners are featured in the paper.
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