Hometown Heroes: Gautier officers puts service into protect and serve

An officer at the Gautier Police Department is taking his oath to serve just as important as he does to protect.

Called kind and caring by those he could have arrested, Officer Wade Wildman has changed the life of a woman struggling with addiction, making him this week’s Hometown Hero.

Protect and Serve. This is an oath Officer Wade Wildman does not take lightly.

He’s being honored as a Mississippi Hero — nominated by Lisa Shoemake.

When they first met, Shoemake was deep in addiction and when police were called one night, Wildman didn’t put her in handcuffs, he offered her a hand.

“I was suffering from battling addiction and so I met him when he was really being a law enforcement officer. But then he gave me someone to turn to because people in addiction do need someone,” Shoemake said.

Shoemake and Wildman became friends.

Wildman looked out for Shoemake and encouraged her to get clean. Four years later, Wildman is attending Shoemake family graduations and birthday parties.

Why go the extra mile?

“Because we need to,” Wildman said. “As police officers, it’s our job to protect and serve. So I just … it’s the service part I think hat sets us all apart as police officers.”

Wildman has changed the lives of Lisa and multiple people struggling with addiction. It shows how far a little care can go.

“It shows what true law enforcement is supposed to be,” Shoemake said. “They’re supposed to be a community servant, not just somebody out there to wrack up arrests or whatever. And that is Deputy Wildman.

“Does he take in the people that need to be in jail? Absolutely. But the ones that need help and someone to love them, that’s what he gives us.”

Lisa Shoemake has been sober for nearly five years — maker her a hero for others struggling with addiction. And she has her hero right by her side.

“It really tugs on the heartstrings,” Wildman said.

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