Valdosta Mayor John Gayle and Valdosta Fire Department Administrative Chief Johnny Henry honored Training Division Lt. Justin Ply as the June 2017 Employee of the Month at the June 22 City Council meeting. Lt. Ply received a framed certificate and a check for $200, and his name appears on a plaque displayed in City Hall.
Lt. Ply has been employed for nearly 20 years with the Valdosta Fire Department, where he is responsible for ensuring all VFD personnel hone the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to perform their duties efficiently. He also ensures all employees meet their required Insurance Safety Office (ISO) training hours.
Recently, while attending a promotional assessment in Gainesville, Florida, Lt. Ply was in his vehicle at a busy intersection when he witnessed a domestic-related assault on the side of the street. A man was yelling profanity and threatening to kill a woman while striking her in the head. Lt. Ply immediately pulled off the road to stop the man from preventing any further abuse and called 911. The man fled the scene, and Lt. Ply stayed by the woman’s side until law enforcement arrived and informed him he was clear to leave. Soon after, law enforcement officers caught the man, and he was apprehended.
While the dispatcher said that many had called 911 to report the incident, Lt. Ply did what no other person in that busy area of town did. He offered his intervention, possibly saving the life of the woman. “She deserved to be helped,” said Lt. Ply, who is married with three kids, his most recent child born earlier this month. “I just felt compelled to help her.”
The City of Valdosta applauds Lt. Justin Ply for his heroic intervention and compassion and for being named the June 2017 Employee of the Month.