MCFRS News Release

Valor Awards to be Presented at Annual Public Safety Ceremony

Unprecedented three Gold, two Silver and twelve Bronze Medals to be awarded

ROCKVILLE, Md., – The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce will host its 35th annual public safety awards program on March 20, 2009 at the North Bethesda Marriott Hotel and Conference Center located 5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda, Maryland.  The annual event honors the heroic deeds and community service initiatives of Montgomery County’s law enforcement and fire-rescue workers.

Along with the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and Department of the Montgomery County Police, other public safety agencies being recognized are the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Maryland-National Capital Park Police, Montgomery County Division and for the first time the Maryland State Police and US Park Police.

Nearly thirty (30) public safety workers who were directly involved in various incident’s will receive medals of valor and community service awards.  Honoring the awardees at the event will include County Executive Isiah Leggett, Council President Phil Andrews, Acting Fire Chief Richard Bowers, Police Chief Tom Manger, Sheriff Ray Kight, Acting MNCPP Police Chief Darien Manley, Correction and Rehabilitation Director Art Wallenstien as well as other local elected officials.  Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, as well as Senator Ben Cardin, Representative Chris Van Hollen and Representative Donna Edwards are expected to attend.

Thirteen (13) police officers and thirteen (13) firefighters will receive various Medals of Valor for their involvement in nine (10) separate incidents. In the 35 year history of this program the Gold Medal of Valor has been presented only nine (9) times. This year there will be an unprecedented three (3) Gold medal recipients along with two (2) Silver medals, twelve (12) Bronze medals and ten (10) Honorable Mention medal awardees.  There will also be a Unit Citation presentation. Several of the past Gold Medal of Valor award recipients are expected to attend.

Awards of Valor are designated in several categories, including the Gold Medal of Valor which is the premier award that recognizes an act of bravery involving extreme personal risk that is clearly above and beyond the call of duty or an incident of valor that results in serious injury or death.  A Silver Medal of Valor recognizes acts of bravery involving great personal risk beyond the call of duty, while a Bronze Medal of Valor is awarded to those who are involved in unusual personal risk beyond expectation while performing the usual responsibility and can also be awarded for unusual judgment, zeal, or ingenuity during an emergency situation in the performance of duty. 

Honorable Mention of Valor awards recognize acts of valor and acts that involve personal risk, unusual demonstration of judgment, zeal, or ingenuity not normally involved in the performance of duties.  Unit Citations are presented to those groups who have collectively performed exceptional service.  The (Police) Chief Bernard Crooke Community Service Award and the (Fire) Chief Leslie B. Thompson Community Service Award are special awards presented for dedication and initiative above and beyond the call of duty over a period of time that has affected and benefited the citizens of Montgomery County.

Steve Robins, of Lerch, Early and Brewer, a Bethesda law firm is the committee chair for the Chamber of Commerce 35th annual public safety awards luncheon and ceremony.  Attendance is a “sell-out” and will top over one thousand people.

Public safety workers will be recognized for their efforts in the following incidents:

January 28, 2008 – Timberbrook Lane, Gaithersburg (police)
- assisted Mobile Crisis Team with armed and dangerous patient
May 5, 2008 – Foxlair Court, Gaithersburg (police)
- domestic situation and prevented a suicide of young man
June 5, 2008 – Dalewood Drive, Wheaton (fire/rescue)
- injured worker entangled in power lines and difficult rescue from tree
August 12, 2008 – Grand Prix Road, Silver Spring, Prince George’s and DC (police)
- armed robbery, abduction and carjacking with car chase and capture
August 16, 2008 – New Hampshire Ave., Oakview (police)
- attempted robbery/carjacking with foot pursuit and apprehension
September 6, 2008 – North Summit Ave., Gaithersburg (police)
- robbery in progress, off duty foot chase and capture of suspect
October 20, 2008 – Hawkins Creamery Road, Damascus (police)
- assisted teenage crash victims involved in wreck and car fire
November 26, 2008 – Inwood Ave., Wheaton (police)
- pulled (homicide) victim from burning house
December 3, 2008 – Jamestown Rd. Bethesda (fire/rescue)
- rescued triplets from burning house
December 23, 2008 – River Road, Potomac (fire/rescue, police)
- rescued several motorists from swift water, including helicopter hoist