On a rainy April 8, 2019, Knox County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brian Rehg saved the life of man who attempted to jump from a bridge over I-640, catching the man in mid-air. Yesterday, the Rotary Club of Farragut presented Rehg with its prestigious 2021 “Service Above Self” Award for his heroism.
The club presents this award annually to a member of the emergency services community who has gone above and beyond for those he took an oath to protect. The club’s board of directors in 2020 voted unanimously to present the honor to Rehg, but the COVID-19 pandemic ended the meetings of the club last March.
The meeting yesterday was an in-person meeting at Fox Den Country Club.
Club President Ed Jones made the presentation to Rehg and with the deputy were KCSO Chief Deputy Bernie Lyon and Capt. Todd Clark, who heads up the KCSO Motorcycle Tango Unit. In addition to the plaque, Rehg also received a $100 gift certificate to Season’s Bar & Grill in Turkey Creek.
His name may be familiar. On Oct. 7, 2019, Rehg was featured as an “Our Town Hero” in KnoxTNToday’s weekly Monday feature about the men and women who are our first responders in emergency work. Go here to read that story.
There, standing high on the bridge railing, was a young man facing him as he drove on I-640 west. Rehg’s first thought: “Holy ^%^$!”
Just after Rehg was on the bridge talking with the man, Knoxville Police Department Lt. Chris McCarter answered the call since this was inside the city limits. “We talked with the man and tried to calm him down and finally we got him to sit down on the sidewalk, ” Rehg recalls.
Rehg and McCarter were standing close to the man, talking with him. Things seemed better. It was quiet. Then the man jumped head first over the railing. Rehg reacted and somehow grabbed the man by his right leg and McCarter then grabbed the other leg and maybe an arm. Understand that the man had partially cleared the railing and was headed down.
Here is the video of the incident taken by Rehg’s body camera.
Rehg graduated from the KCSO Academy in 2005 and worked for 2½ years in the jail. In September 2006 he began working patrol in the county and he did that for 13 years until his transfer to the motorcycle unit.
To explore membership in the Rotary Club of Farragut, email Tom King here or call 865-659-3562. Tom King has served at newspapers in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and California and has been the editor of two newspapers.