The sheriff at the time was Lamar Lawson and his chief deputy, Dan Gilley, went on to be one of Bradley County’s longest-seated sheriffs.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart National First Responder Citation was presented by Chris L. Cole, of the organization, and Bradley County Sheriff Jim Ruth.
According to Cleveland Daily Banner archives, Goins was the constable for the 5th District.
Bradley County Commissioner Jeff Yarber introduced Goins at the governing body’s noon work session at the Courthouse.
“It has taken some time to get you what you deserve, but it has finally been done. He is someone I’m happy to have in my district,” Yarber said.
The commissioner said he wanted to publicly acknowledge the former constable and give him a round of applause.
Goins said, “This is a big honor for me after all these years. That just shows you you’re not forgotten.”
Goins said after the meeting he was injured almost 26 years ago when he answered a call on Benton Pike.
“I was out there on a different matter and a call came in that this guy was shooting at his wife. He was shooting at the house,” he said. “I said I would take the call until the deputies could get there. I just pulled in there. I wasn’t there five minutes trying to see where he was coming out of these woods. He came out the other way, behind me. That left me between him and my car — between a rock and a hard place.
“He must have been stoned. I know he was on dope and drinking too. I couldn’t talk to him. He wouldn’t listen and kept coming toward me with that shotgun.
“He got pretty close and I knew I was going to have to do something — run or do something. I kept begging him to put the shotgun down and we’d set down and talk about it, but he wouldn’t listen to me. I reached for my weapon and he shot me in the stomach.”
He said he still has some of the shot in his liver. The shooter was sentenced to five years in prison for attempted murder, but four years were suspended, according to Goins.
When deputies arrived, they found out the man had fired the weapon several times.
As deputies searched a wooded area, they heard a commotion and exited the woods, then saw the suspect running down a hill toward Goins.
According to the reports, the suspect had fired the shotgun approximately four times with some of the shots striking Goins in his face, neck, chest and upper abdomen.
“I’m shot,” Goins exclaimed.
The Banner account noted Goins underwent surgery to repair the injuries.
The suspect was eventually taken into custody after running into a house and firing several other shots at Bradley County deputies.
The Ernie Pyle Chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart provided a plaque to Goins in the company of his family and the sheriff at the Sheriff’s Office Monday morning.
The organization provides the honor to law enforcement and firefighters, according to Bob Gault, media relations coordinator for BCSO.