SHALIMAR, Fla. (WKRG) — The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office presented a Purple Heart in honor of Cpl. Ray Hamilton.

Cpl. Hamilton was shot and killed during a domestic violence call on Dec. 24, 2022.

Renee Hamilton, Cpl. Hamilton’s widow, accepted the award given by Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden on Wednesday, March 29.

“The Purple Heart is the oldest formal award bestowed by the United States Military and Law Enforcement agencies and perhaps the most widely recognized. This award is distinct in the fact that none of us wish to earn or issue one but we all know or should know that it is possible, if not likely. Law enforcement officers and their families sacrifice much in the service of their communities and it is therefore fitting and proper that their sacrifice be honored and remembered. The award is purple, symbolic of bravery, courage. and honor. It bears a heart shape, symbolic of the recipient’s heart for service to others. It is presented to any sworn member of the agency who sustains serious or permanent injury while engaged in enforcement action,” the proclamation to Renee read. “On December 24th, 2022, while serving on the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team, Corporal Ray Hamilton sustained such an injury and made the highest sacrifice. In honor of Ray’s selfless sacrifice while protecting the citizens of Okaloosa County, he is posthumously awarded the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Purple Heart. The memory of his honorable service will live on in our hearts and traditions.”

The presentation was met with a standing ovation in support of Renee.

Sheriff Aden presents Purple Heart to Renee Hamilton

Sheriff Aden shared a quote about Cpl. Ray Hamilton added in the ceremony.

“Try each day to be like Ray. Be the difference. Be that deputy that everyone wants and hopes shows up the next time they need help. He was special. Be special. Be like Ray.”

Sheriff Eric Aden

Watch a video with a slide show honoring Cpl. Hamilton on the OCSO social media pages.