From the book, “Stories of Pensacola’s Finest,” available on Amazon
By Mike Simmons
Most people know him as the face of the Pensacola Police Department they see on television, discussing the latest hot topic. But many do not know that Mike Wood is the fourth recipient of the Police Department’s Gold Medal of Valor. Here is the story…
If you know Mike, you know he loves NASCAR. He even had his own team, Michael Wood Racing, LLC. Mike also loves to fish.
25 years ago on this date, Mike was fishing on his boat off Navy Point, in West Pensacola, near the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Catching nothing, he decided to pack it up and head home.
Marilyn Morgan, her daughter, Shakitha Spellman, and friends were swimming near the boat ramp as Mike was pulling his boat in. Marilyn’s 11-year-old daughter, who couldn’t swim, was suddenly swept out into water over her head. She went under, a terrifying experience! Screams came to Mike’s ears. He raced the 50 yards to where Marilyn and the others were pointing. They hadn’t seen Shakitha in about three minutes, an eternity!
Without hesitation, Mike dove down in search of the helpless girl. He soon touched an arm. He scooped the little girl’s body up and swam to the surface. After he got to shore, he began life-saving measures while instructing someone to call 911. After what seemed like an eternity, the ambulance arrived, took over, and transported little Shakitha to the hospital…where she eventually made a complete recovery!
On July 24, 1998, the Pensacola News Journal reported that Mike had received a heroism medal from the Police and Fireman’s Insurance Association. He was also a recipient of the Pensacola Police Department Gold Medal of Valor.
Good job, Officer Wood!