Gage County deputy receives award for saving dog from icy pond

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A Gage County deputy was recognized Friday night for his heroic efforts saving a dog from an icy pond.

The Beatrice Humane Society honored Deputy Thomas Smith with the Herb and Marion Webster Humanitarian Award.

Smith was surrounded by cheers for his quick action saving Wally the dog, who was drowning.

“It was very apparent that on that day, he went above and beyond anything that was ever dictated in any kind of rulebook, manual or anything else,” said Carlee Fiddes, the executive director of the shelter. “He had to bring out some pretty good MacGyver techniques to be able to make that save.”

On Feb. 9, Smith was called to a pond near Pickrell, just north of Beatrice.

He quickly realized someone’s pet – Wally – had fallen through the ice and needed to be saved.

Smith jumped into the pond, breaking the ice with a hammer and his bare hands, and saved Wally.

                 SEE MORE: WATCH: Gage County deputy rescues dog from icy pond near Pickrell

“When we were considering who we were going to present the award to this year, it was very easy to make the decision that the heroic efforts of Deputy Thomas Smith were exactly what we wanted to embody with this award,” Fiddes said.

Fiddes said Smith went beyond the call of duty to save Wally, who was adopted from the shelter in 2020.

Smith said he didn’t expect an award for what he did.

“I can’t put words to it. It was humbling,” Smith said. “To see everybody’s reaction, I was surprised I didn’t cry. It’s heartwarming to hear a little more of Wally’s story.”

Wally is happy back at home with his owners, and Smith’s actions have gotten him quite a bit of recognition around town.

“I’ll say the outreach has been crazy,” he said. “I’ve been on traffic stops and people thank me. I’m giving someone a citation for speeding, and this story comes up.”

He said this is exactly why he decided to become a deputy.

“I had five minutes left of my shift. I never would have thought it would turn into this,” he said. “It turns into a big, big deal when you least expect it.”

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