Adam R. Shipley, Missouri State Highway Patrol

At about 5 p.m. on January 25, 2022, Trooper Shipley heard radio traffic about an aggravated rape in progress at the Amidon Conservation Area in Madison County and immediately responded to the area. As he approached on County Road 253, he observed a 58-year-old man forcing a woman and young child toward a vehicle at knifepoint. The woman, who had just been sexually assaulted by the man, ran toward Shipley with her four-year-old in her arms. Trooper Shipley exited his vehicle and pursued the attacker into the woods. He caught the man after about 60 yards. As Shipley attempted to handcuff him, the man reached for a knife in his waistband. The two fell to the ground as they fought. The man managed to get Trooper Shipley’s pepper spray and Taser, deploying both toward the trooper. The Taser probes struck Trooper Shipley but it was not effective. Although impaired by the pepper spray, he could see the man reaching again for the knife in his waistband. Trooper Shipley drew his duty pistol and discharged one round, striking the man in the chest. He attempted to administer first aid but the attacker died at the scene. The attacker had recently completed a prison sentence for sexual assault and been released. By responding quickly and acting decisively, Trooper Shipley prevented additional harm to an innocent mother and her child and ended the threat of further violence to the community.

William E. Davis and Rick D. Hirshey, Joplin Police Department

On March 8, 2022, Joplin Police Corporal Ben Cooper and Officer Jake Reed responded to a business for a disturbance call. As they attempted to take a suspect into custody, the man pulled a concealed gun and shot Cooper and Reed, mortally wounding both. The gunman then fled the scene in Corporal Cooper’s patrol vehicle. Officers gave chase as the gunman fired at them. The gunman crashed the patrol vehicle and attempted to steal a minivan. Officer Hirshey located the gunman and positioned his vehicle to prevent the gunman from fleeing in the minivan. The gunman fired at Officer Hirshey, who received a life-threatening gunshot wound to his face. Captain Davis arrived on the scene and was also fired upon. He shot and killed the gunman. On a tragic day when two members of the Joplin Police Department were killed and the community threatened, Officer Hirshey and Captain Davis responded courageously, decisively and ended a danger to the police department and Joplin itself.

*Rick D. Hirshey was also awarded the red, White and Blue Heart.

Barry W. Morgan Jr., Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office and Joshua J. Schuenemeyer, Missouri State Highway Patrol

On the morning of March 17, 2022, heavy fog enveloped Interstate 57 near Charleston, Mo., contributing to a chain reaction crash involving more than 45 vehicles, including many tractor trailers. The crash killed five people and injured more than a dozen others. Captain Morgan and Trooper Schuenemeyer were among the first emergency personnel on the scene. Captain Morgan found a seriously injured driver trapped in the driver’s seat in the remains of a tractor. Its cab had been torn away and the driver was screaming for help. Trooper Schuenemeyer, who had been assisting other motorists, arrived and he and Captain Morgan attempted to pull away the crumpled dashboard and free the driver. So much of the tractor had been ripped away that the two stood on the engine block as they attempted the rescue. Fire service personnel had not yet reached this area of the crash scene and trucks and cars were burning around the remains of the tractor; the ground beneath it was covered with diesel fuel. Fire and intense heat were encroaching on all sides. Captain Morgan and Trooper Schuenemeyer attempted to pull the driver out through the passenger doorway, but his legs were caught under the dashboard. With time running out, Trooper Schuenemeyer ran to the driver side of the truck, placing himself between two burning tractor-trailers. Flames now burned overhead. Fire had spread to the tractor. Trooper Schuenemeyer was able to free the driver’s legs and Captain Morgan pulled the driver out the passenger doorway as flames spread across the remains of the wreckage. The driver was transported to a local hospital. Sadly, he succumbed to his injuries as he was being flown to another hospital. In the midst of a massive crash scene, with fire burning all around them, Captain Morgan and Trooper Schuenemeyer each displayed undaunted courage and resourcefulness, risking their own lives in an attempt to save the life of the severely injured truck driver.

Donald W. Fessler, Missouri Department of Conservation

At 12:41 p.m. on June 27, 2022, Agent Fessler was on routine patrol when he heard a Missouri State Highway Patrol radio call about a major train derailment crash near Mendon, in Chariton County. At 12:51 p.m., Agent Fessler arrived on the scene before any other first responders. As he moved on foot toward a derailed Amtrak train with his medical bags, people were running toward him and pointing to a ditch. There, he found a truck driver whose dump truck had been struck by the train. Agent Fessler and a civilian began administering CPR, but the victim could not be revived. Agent Fessler then moved toward the train wreckage, where there were many seriously injured passengers. He triaged the scene, rendered aid and directed other arriving first responders. He then determined to climb into the train cars laying on their sides to search for and assist victims who could not evacuate. The interior was dark, hot and chaotic. Agent Fessler searched for the most seriously injured with his flashlight. He found Anthony Bryant, an Amtrak employee, who was bleeding profusely from his right shoulder and arm, which were trapped between the ground and the train wreckage. He applied quick clot and gauze to stop the bleeding from the shoulder. He then began to dig out rock and debris from around Mr. Bryant’s arm. Agent Fessler remained with Mr. Bryant for about two hours, keeping him calm as he continued to try to free his arm. Eventually, EMS and firefighters arrived with the Jaws of Life and other equipment to help free Mr. Bryant’s arm. Mr. Bryant was pulled from the wreckage strapped to a backboard. Agent Fessler would visit Mr. Bryant at Missouri Orthopedic Institute as he recovered from the amputation of his right arm. Agent Fessler received notes of thanks from train passengers in recognition of his attentive care and kindness. Arriving at a large scene of destruction with dozens of victims seriously injured, Agent Fessler remained calm and assisted many injured passengers. His compassionate care for Anthony Bryant likely saved Mr. Bryant’s life.

Tanner J. Muckenthaler and Brendan D. Gamble, Branson Police Department

On August 13, 2022, Sergeant Muckenthaler and Officer Gamble responded to a head-on collision on Fall Creek Road just outside of Branson’s jurisdiction because there were reports of injuries. A Jeep was on fire with a man trapped inside the smoke-filled vehicle. The man was screaming in agony because of severe injuries and the toxic smoke; smoke was also pouring out of a sedan. The situation demanded fast, resourceful action. Sergeant Muckenthaler quickly assisted in getting the driver of the sedan to safety. But a couple was trapped inside the Jeep. A civilian, Shane Childress, managed to get the Jeep’s doors unlocked and opened, dispersing some of the smoke. The driver exited, but the passenger was seat-belted in, suffering from a severely broken leg and unable to get out. Mr. Childress attempted to put out the fire with fire extinguishers without success. The fire was growing and the toxic smoke in the cabin was stifling. Sergeant Muckenthaler used a knife to cut the passenger’s seatbelt. Officer Gamble had now arrived and attempted to assist by getting into the SUV through the driver’s door but was repelled by the smoke. He then joined Sergeant Muckenthaler at the passenger’s door and together they were able to lift the screaming man out of the vehicle. The two officers then moved him to a safe distance from the fire. They then instructed everyone to get away from the burning Jeep, which was fully engulfed in flames within 45 seconds. Had it not been for the quick actions of Sergeant Childress, Officer Gamble and Mr. Childress, the passenger likely would have died in the smoke and fire.

Terry A. Bible, Missouri State Highway Patrol and W. Shane Blankenship, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office

On the afternoon of September 10, 2022, Deputy Shane Blankenship was at the scene of a motorcycle crash on eastbound Interstate 44 in Lawrence County when he heard a vehicle stopping suddenly. As Deputy Blankenship looked to the west he could see flames from another crash a few hundred yards down the road. As Corporal Bible arrived at the first scene, Deputy Blankenship directed him and Sarcoxie Fire Department firefighters to the second scene. There, Corporal Bible found two crashed tractor-trailers; thick smoke was coming from one of them. A motorist ran to Corporal Bible and told him the truck was on fire and the driver trapped. Bible grabbed his fire extinguisher and sprinted to the cab of the truck. He found the driver trapped with his legs pinned in by the seat, with the exterior and the rear of the cab on fire. Corporal Bible directed others on the scene to bring their fire extinguishers to the truck since the fire department was not on the scene. Inside the cab, Corporal Bible attempted to force the seat away from the driver’s leg as the flames intensified. Understanding that every second mattered, once the fire department got to the scene, Corporal Bible exited the cab, instructed the crew to bring the Jaws of Life hydraulic rescue tool to the truck and then helped pull a firehose to the cab. Bible then covered the driver with an extra set of the fire department’s bunker gear to protect him from the growing flames. Deputy Blankenship arrived and the two applied pressure to the driver’s seat as the fire department used the Jaws of Life to try to free the driver. With tires blowing up and flames moving into the cab, the fire department began spraying water on all the people in the cab to protect them. Bible and Blankenship continued to try to calm and reassure the driver, who was conscious throughout the ordeal. Eventually, the driver was freed with the Jaws of Life and was transported to medical treatment. Under the most harrowing circumstances, Corporal Bible and Deputy Blankenship remained calm and resolute in their heroic determination to risk their own lives to save the driver.