Thursday, July 14, 2005

Medal of Valor

A team of six Kansas City, Mo., firefighters (Phillip Atwood, David Bradley, Marvin Donaldson, Stephen Johnson, Patrick Martin, and Sean McKarnin) were honored today at a White House ceremony with Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales as recipients of the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor. The recipients of the award represent fire, law enforcement and emergency medical service providers from across the United States. The Medal of Valor is the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer, honoring outstanding heroic deeds performed above and beyond the call of duty.

On February 23, 2004, the KC firefighters were called to a residential fire that resulted from an explosion in south Kansas City. Arriving firefighters came under heavy and rapid gunfire shortly after arriving on the scene. A paramedic suffered injuries from the gunfire, but was pulled to safety by team members. The firefighters then remained pinned down by 20-30 minutes of automatic weapon fire before a second explosion destroyed the building and the gunfire ceased.

"We are here today to honor Medal of Valor recipients who went above and beyond the call of duty -- putting their own lives at risk -- to earn this mark of heroism," said Attorney General Gonzales. "The commitment to service shown by these incredible public safety officers is indicative of the day-in and day-out dedication of police officers, sheriffs, emergency medical personnel, firefighters, and countless other first responders and public servants across our Nation."

A press release is posted at the Department of Justice.