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Deputy of the Year says unbelievable heroics are just part of the job

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SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) -

From risking life and limb to help people during the historic floods to donating a kidney, the events of 2016 certainly speak to how St. Tammany Parish's Deputy of the Year garnered the honor. Deputy Robert Ardeneaux says it's all part of why he got into law enforcement in the first place.

Jason Triche said, “I'm playing with my child again, outside a lot, riding bikes  and things like that and I'm enjoying it.”

That kind of activity was difficult before.

Triche said, “I was running at 30 percent, always was tired, always exhausted.”

Shot in 2012 during an ambush of St. John Parish deputies, Jason Triche relied on dialysis for four years, but that ended with an unexpected gift last summer when a stranger gave him one of his  kidneys.

Robert Ardeneaux, known as Andre to friends and family, said, “I found out about Jason and somebody needed to do it and I just stepped in because for us to be such a close match and they say it takes 24 to 48 hours for a  kidney to start functioning they said it geysered in about 10 minutes.”

Triche says Ardeneaux, a fellow deputy from St. Tammany parish, gave him a second life.

He said, “Now after the transplant probably after a couple of days I would say I felt totally different.” 

That's how Ardeneaux closed out the summer. He started it coming in from vacation to help with emergency evacuations during the March floods.

He said, “It was understood when I got hired on to the special operations division you are always on call.”

The deputy spent five days on high water vehicles and in chest deep water helping to rescue people. A boat capsized near the vehicle sending five people and two dogs into the water.

He said, “We didn't have any rope or anything so I grabbed on  to the rear view mirror of the 5 ton, and I reached out and used my arm kind of as a lever point for them to pull their way up.”

He tore all of the ligaments in his shoulder, but was back on the job in less than two months. Now he's being recognized as St. Tammany Parish Deputy of the Year, and while the award came as a surprise, St. Tammany Sheriff Randy Smith says there was no question after reading the nominations.

He said, “I kind of teared up and learned that this is way above and beyond the call of duty and made my selection.” 

Ardeneaux said, “When you work around the individuals that I do and you see the things that they do you kind of  expect it of yourself to just keep going and going and going and do the best that you can. Sometimes you can even do better than what you think is your best.”

Ardeneaux even thanks the department for the skills to perform his most personal feat.

Ardeneaux said, “Where's he at? Where's he at? And my heart sank and that's where we found him. I wish I could give you a play by play on all that I don't remember most of it.”

His three-year-old had slipped away and gotten into the pool at a family gathering. It happened in minutes as the family was packing up to leave. Ardeneaux spotted the boy at the bottom of the pool, yelled for someone to call 911 and still injured dove into the pool pulling his unconscious son to the surface and administering CPR.

He said, “I just  went into autopilot and did what needed to be done about 6 hours later I was able to finally cry once I knew he was fine.”

Again he shies away from any credit.

He said, “I can't thank the Sheriff's office enough for enforcing that and just our training staff because if I hadn't done that and been trained that way  I might not  be able to go home later today and throw the baseball with my kid.”

This is Ardeneaux’s tenth year with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.

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