UPDATE: Community welcomes home injured Dade County sheriff's major
The Dade County sheriff's deputy who was injured earlier this month when a woman ran over him while trying to flee police came home on Wednesday.
UPDATE: The Dade County sheriff's major who was seriously injured in a chase returned home Wednesday morning.
It was a homecoming fit for a hero.
It felt like the entire community stopped what they were doing to celebrate Major Tommy Bradford's return home to Dade County.
"The flags, the ribbons, we wanted to make sure he gets the support that he needs," said Sandra Gray.
A parade of police cars escorted Major Tommy Bradford back home to Dade County. He's been recovering at Siskin in Chattanooga since August 7, when he was involved in a crash while on duty.
"We want to lift him up and encourage him. Lift him in prayer, just let him know that we care about him," said Carrie Moore.
Hundreds of people lined the streets. They gathered along the sidewalks and in front of schools, waiting anxiously to get a glimpse of their hometown hero.
"We are just welcoming him home. We just want to make sure we are here to support him," said Gray.
Major Bradford waved to the cheering crowd as he traveled downtown. He made a stop at Dade County High School where he served as a school resource officer.
"He did a lot for us, so I am happy to be here," said student Mindy McDaniel.
Major Bradford still has a long journey ahead of him. The community hopes this homecoming shows they will be with him along the way.
"This community always stands behind them, always will stand behind them. We just want to show everybody our support," said Gray.
Major Bradford lost part of his leg because of his injuries. Last week he wrote a letter to the Dade County community saying he plans to return to work at the Dade County Sheriff's Office when he is able to.
The suspect, Laura Leann Wooten, is in the Walker County jail and facing multiple charges.
Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.
PREVIOUS STORY: The Dade County sheriff's deputy who was injured earlier this month when a woman ran over him while trying to flee police will be going home Wednesday.
Major Tommy Bradford has been recovering and doing physical therapy at an area hospital.
The sheriff's department wants to give him the proper homecoming. Deputies will be escorting Bradford through Dade County, and they are asking that the community help them by lining the streets and showing their support.
The route will go through downtown Trenton, south on Highway 11 and through the square. They will turn by Citizens Bank, go by the courthouse and Dade Elementary School. Then, they will go by Hardee's and turn to go to Dade County Middle School. The route will continue up Sand Mountain to Davis Elementary, then go back down the mountain and through Trenton to Dade County High School.
Students will be outside cheering and waving at Major Bradford.
The sheriff's office wants to keep this a surprise, and they are asking the community to help them keep the secret.
PREVIOUS STORY: Dade County Sheriff’s Office Major Tommy Bradford shared an open letter to the community via Facebook Thursday morning.
The letter detailed what Bradford experienced when he was hit by a driver fleeing police on August 8.
Bradford, who lost part of his leg in the resulting crash, has gone through several surgeries since the crash. He's scheduled to released August 29th.
He thanked the community for the support given to him and his family, saying "We continue to be amazed at the massive amount of encouragement and kindness given to my family, and I will forever remember it all."
PREVIOUS STORY: On Thursday, Major Tommy Bradford remains at the hospital in good spirits. Almost 200 people donated blood for Bradford at a church blood drive.
Bradford's wife has been very active on social media. Updating friends, and concerned citizens on Tommy's condition.
She posted: "His pain is much more tolerable. He's not having any surgery today. They are giving him a free day."
Bradford will spend most of his day on Friday undergoing surgery on his leg. His wife is thankful for the community's support, sharing this message on Facebook: “We read through everything at night and he drifts off to sleep knowing he's loved and has amazing support from so many!”
The Dade County Sheriff's Office has opened up an account with The Bank of Dade.
Donations can be made under Major Bradford's name at all branches.
Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.
PREVIOUS STORY: Dade County Sheriff's Major Tommy Bradford is adored by the Trenton community.
He's been with the sheriff's department since 1993, working his way up the ranks from patrol to school resource officer.
Everyday for almost eight years Major Bradford and then Dade County High School Principal Josh Ingle worked side by side.
"As we worked together, and as we got to know how each other worked, it evolved into a close friendship," said Davis Lee Elementary Principal Josh Ingle.
Bradford was the school resource officer. Principal Ingle said there was a mutual respect between the students and the man in uniform.
"He wanted to make a difference. Let kids know, you're going to make mistakes, but let's take these mistakes and learn from them," said Ingle.
Bradford's positive influence also made a strong impression on the adults in the building.
"I learned so much from him as a law enforcement officer. It helped me be a better principal and building relationships with kids," said Ingle.
News of Bradford's life-changing injury is difficult for everyone to comprehend. This kind and generous man is now depending on others to get through the difficult days.
"Major Bradford has already had surgery and has many more to come. His road to recovery will be a long one. But not one without support," said Dade County Sheriff Ray Cross.
A blood drive for Bradford is scheduled for Wednesday from 4:30-8:30 p.m. at Piney Grove Baptist Church.