A deputy US Marshal from the Treasure Coast and a St. Lucie County Sheriff's deputy, who were injured in the line of duty, were honored Tuesday for their bravery.
Deputy US Marshal Andy Deacon and St. Lucie County Sheriff's Deputy Paul Pearson were working as part of a US Marshal task force operation in Sebring last November.
Their 12-member arrest team approached a door looking to apprehend a number of fugitives wanted for drug trafficking.
As Deacon and Pearson announced their presence, there were gunshots.
"Even though the bullets are flying, we know what to do," said Deacon.
Pearson was shot in the shoulder. Deacon was hit in his right hand, but still used his shield to protect the team.
"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face," said Deacon laughing. "But when things start happening your training kicks in and you just operate as a team."
The fugitives were apprehended.
Tuesday, Deacon and Pearson were presented the US Marshals Service Purple Heart awards. It's an award
established recently to honor those officers injured in the line of duty, similar to the military version of the Purple Heart.
"What we do with this award is recognize those heroes, and we don't use that word often but these folks are heroes," said Amos Rojas, Jr. the US Marshal for the Southern District of Florida.
"It's an honor for me to hear that and receive this award, but the whole team that's with me, we're all the same," said deputy Pearson.
Pearson returned to work a week after he was hurt.
Deacon has had four surgeries and has yet to return, but can't wait to get back to protecting his home territory. "To do that in the community I grew up, you'll never find a luckier guy than me."