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Deputy: ‘God is real’; Orangeburg County officer shares story of COVID recovery
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Deputy: ‘God is real’; Orangeburg County officer shares story of COVID recovery

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Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Dexter Ladson, a former amateur boxing champion, was in the fight for his life last year.

“Nov. 22, I remember going to the hospital. A few days after that, I made some phone calls to my mom, my loved ones and fellow officers and, after that, I don’t remember nothing until I woke up Jan. 2, 2021,” Ladson said.

Ladson gave credit to Jesus for healing him from COVID-19.

“You just can’t beat him. He’s never lost a fight and never will,” he said.

“God is real.”

Ladson got up early Saturday morning to write what he wanted to say at an event held in his honor, called “Welcome Back, Dexter.”

“I wrote ‘God is real’ at the top of the page,” he said. “What more is there to say?”

Ladson doesn’t remember everything from his 75-day hospital stay. He was on a ventilator for 30 of those days.

“I remember when I came through Jan. 2, I had some doctors standing on the left of me. I was hooked up to these machines. All I could move were my eyes. Just my eyes,” he said.

“I looked, and I had tubes running this way and tubes running that way,” he said.

A doctor looked at him and said, “Son, do you know where you’re at?”

Ladson explained that because he had a tracheotomy, he couldn’t talk.

The doctor picked up one of Ladson’s hands and put it over the valve of the tracheotomy so he could talk.

The doctor asked him again, “Do you know where you’re at, son?”

Ladson responded, “A hospital.”

The doctor asked him, “Do you know how long you’ve been in here?”

Ladson responded, “About four days.”

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“No, son. It’s Jan. 2, 2021,” the doctor replied.

Ladson said all he could do was lay in the hospital bed, rolling his eyes from one side to the next, “praying, thanking God” that he was still here.

“I was still amongst the living,” he added.

Ladson said from that day forward, he began talking to Jesus every day and all day.

He developed a large pressure sore on his backside as a result of the extended hospital stay.

After he got home from the hospital, he’d visit the wound center regularly for treatment.

Within three months, the 10-centimeter sore healed completely, he said.

“It’s not there. The scar’s there, but the wound is gone. It’s closed,” he said.

Ladson told the crowd, “I sat back on God long enough.”

“God has blessed me. God has brought me out of things. When I should’ve been testifying to the glory of him, I sat on it. Sat on it,” he said.

“But I want to tell you something, I ain’t sitting on this,” he said.

“And wherever I have to go to give this testimony, I’m willing. We can do it in an airplane in the sky. We can do it in a ship in the middle of the ocean. If he sends me, I’m going,” he said.

“God is good. Good is great. Words just can’t explain how I feel about that man,” he added.

Because of his time in the hospital, Ladson wasn’t able to attend the swearing in ceremony for his peers in early January.

On Saturday, Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell administered the oath to him on the lawn of The Shepherd Outreach Ministries, located on Pineland Street, in Vance.

“In over 20-plus years of working with and 12 years of working as sheriff beside Dexter, Dexter’s been honorable and one of the people that I can count on that I can send out in the county to represent Leroy Ravenell with no problem,” he said.

The Rev. Jerome Anderson, of Unity Community Fellowship in Orangeburg, preached a message about God working as a provider in difficult times.

Orangeburg County Clerk of Court the Rev. Winnifa B. Clark, pastor of The Shepherd Outreach Ministries, told the crowd that she felt called by God to help host Saturday’s event to honor Ladson.

Ladson said he hopes to resume working at the sheriff’s office soon.

Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD

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