Darrel Welborn Receives County Award For Bravery

Longtime EMS Chief's Valor on Display During 2022 Machete Attack

Okaloosa County EMS Division Chief Darrel Welborn received Okaloosa County’s award for heroism after defending civilians from a machete-wielding attacker earlier this year. 

On June 3rd, the narrative for the citation reads, Welborn was helping EMS units in the area of the Okaloosa Boardwalk when “he was flagged down by a frantic wife of a victim who had just been struck with a machete by an unidentified subject in a seemingly random, unprovoked act of violence.”

The narrative adds that Welborn triaged the victim and then realized that the attacker hadn’t left the area. The chief called law enforcement put on tactical gear and engaged the suspect – distracting him long enough for law enforcement to arrive by “verbally engaging” the suspect. 

According to an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office New Release, the suspect was later shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies, ending the situation. 

Darrel Welborn and Okaloosa County Administrator John Hofstad
Okaloosa EMS Chief receives his HERO award from Okaloosa County Administrator John Hofstad. 📸: Nick Tomecek | Okaloosa County

Welborn, a longtime veteran of Okaloosa EMS received the award from Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Mel Ponder at a meeting of the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners July 5th. 

“I’m honored to be able to serve this community – our visitors and our citizens. The first two words in our mission statement are ‘we protect,’“ said Welborn “that’s the essence of the award. We protect our citizens and we protect our visitors. And I was glad to be there that day to be able to assist.”

“Darrel’s being humble,” said Public Safety Director Patrick Maddox of Welborn, “It’s my honor to have you working for me.”

Sheriff Eric Aden also attended the award ceremony on behalf of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. He glowed with praise for Welborn’s handling of the June 3rd incident and the Chief’s handling of the EMS operation more generally as well. “Darrel has served this community for decades now and I came up as a young deputy when he was already with EMS. We are fortunate that it is a team effort, Sheriff Aden said. “Darrel puts himself in harms way, not because he has to, but because it is a calling.”

People standing at an awards ceremont
EMS Chief Darrel Welborn poses with Okaloosa County Commissioners after his awards ceremony. 📸: Nick Tomecek | Okaloosa County

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