OAN’s Geraldyn Berry
5:28 PM – Wednesday, May 17, 2023
President Biden presented the Medal of Valor to nine public safety personnel in celebration of their outstanding courage and heroism, including two New York Police Department officers killed during 911 call, on Wednesday.
The honor was given to five police officers, one deputy sheriff, and three firemen. In 2001, Congress had established the medal with the intention of awarding it to public safety personnel who demonstrate remarkable bravery, promptness of action, and willingness to take personal risks in an effort to save or preserve human life.
“All of you who have lost someone know that no matter how much you take pride in the recognition of what they did when they were lost, it still brings back everything like it happened that moment,” Mr. Biden said.”
The two NYPD officers who presented the award were Officers Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera, who had put themselves in the line of fire to protect a mother and son from an armed man in their home. Another officer, Sumit Sulan, ensured the safety of those on the scene and shot and killed the gunman, ending the deadly episode just 45 seconds after it began.
“From small towns and bity cities, you’re cut from the same cloth,” Biden said of the honorees. “You run into danger when everyone else runs away from danger. You possess a selflessness that’s literally impossible to explain. And your bravery is one that inspires.”
The other medal recipients reportedly included Corporal Jeffrey Farmer of the Littleton, Colorado Police Department whose rapid action saved the life of a fellow officer who had been seriously wounded, Lieutenant Justin Hespeler of the New York City Fire Department who had rushed into a burning house to rescue a newborn baby, retired Lieutenant Jason Hickey of the New York City Fire Department who rescued a man from the Harlem River, Deputy Bobby Hau Pham of the Clermont County and Ohio Sheriff’s Office who saved a drowning woman who had driven her car into a lake, Sergeant Kendrick Simpo of the Houston, Texas Police Department who had confronted a man carrying an assault-style rifle in a shopping mall who appeared intent on inflicting harm, restraining the heavily armed suspect with his own hands, and Patrick Thornton of the New York City Fire Department who saved a man trapped underneath a capsized boat and pulled him to safety.
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