2008 Medal of Valor Class, awarded on Nov. 19, 2009
Robert "Elmer" Bellefy, Belton Emergency Services
On March 11, 2008, Specialist/EMT Bellefy saved the lives of a mother and her adolescent daughter while responding to an accident and fire involving five vehicles on Highway 71 in Belton. The mother and daughter were trapped inside a burning vehicle. Specialist Bellefy first rescued the mother. To rescue the child, he had to crawl inside the burning vehicle, shielding the girl from the flames and heat, as he worked against time to free her leg that was pinned by twisted metal and the car seats.
Daniel Berry and Todd Gray, Fulton Fire Department
On Feb. 29, 2008, Fulton firefighters Daniel Berry Todd Gray rescued a woman from a blazing house fire in Fulton. While inside the burning residence, attempting to find the victim, the blaze grew dramatically, filling the structure with thick black smoke. The fire then "flashed over," causing flames to cut off the firefighters' escape route. Despite this, the victim was located through a hand search, and the two firefighters were able to get her out through a bedroom window and then safely escape themselves.
Shawn Dougherty, Troop G, Missouri State Highway Patrol
On March 18, 2008, Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Shawn Dougherty responded to a vehicle caught in a flash flood in Carter County. After first rescuing one person caught near a vehicle in swift water conditions, Trooper Dougherty and others turned their attention to a second victim. That victim, who could not swim, was thrown a rope and, without warning, jumped into the swift water, dropping below the surface as he was swept away. Risking his own life, Trooper Dougherty jumped into the swift water. He swam toward the victim and repeatedly went under water to find the victim, then holding the victim's head above water until the victim could be safely pulled to the shore.
Donald Hayden, Pulaski County Sheriff's Office
On June 10, 2008, Deputy Hayden ended a shooting rampage by a heavily armed suspect at a trailer court in Dixon by shooting the suspect. Deputy Hayden responded to a domestic violence assault inside a trailer, shots fired at a neighbor, and the bludgeoning of another neighbor with a pistol. The suspect had fled but was then spotted returning to the trailer court. To protect residents, Deputy Hayden drove toward the suspect and used his patrol car to block the suspect's vehicle. The suspect exited his vehicle and started firing. More than twenty shots were fired by Deputy Hayden and the suspect in a close-range gun battle. Deputy Hayden was shot four times as he ended the threat to the trailer court.
Dale Jinkens, Troop A, Missouri State Highway Patrol
On Nov. 22, 2008, Sgt. Jinkens rescued a motorist who was trapped inside a burning vehicle on Interstate 70 in Independence. Sgt. Jinkens could not reach the victim because her vehicle was up against the concrete highway divider. Sgt. Jinkens organized motorists who had stopped and working together, they moved the vehicle far enough that he could squeeze between the divider and the car - still engulfed in flames - and rescue the driver, who was expected to make a full recovery.
Andrew Ward, Troop D, Missouri State Highway Patrol
On Jan. 7, 2008, Trooper Ward rescued a motorist who was trapped inside a burning car on Route W in Butler County. Trooper Ward tried to remove the driver through the front passenger door, but the woman's foot was wedged under the brake pedal. Trooper Ward then dived through the driver door window and dislodged her foot. The vehicle filled with smoke as the fire intensified and Trooper Ward could not get himself out. After being pulled to safety by another trooper, Trooper Ward - without hesitation - ran back to the passenger door and, with the help of several civilians, pulled the driver from the burning vehicle to safety.