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Cody B. Ross, Jason M. Huff, Cade A. Thompson, Andrew W. Fritzinger, Missouri Department of Corrections; Richard W. Bashor, Cameron Police Department; and Bradley R. Muck, Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop H

2018 Class
Awarded on: 10/07/2019
Governor's Medal

At 8 p.m. on May 12, 2018, approximately 209 offenders in two dining halls in the Central Services Building at the Crossroads Correctional Center refused to leave and stated they were staging a protest. The Corrections team notified all housing units to go on lock down, which prevented an escalation to other areas of the facility. Conditions quickly deteriorated when offenders breached the kitchen area, obtained potentially dangerous cooking utensils, and began vandalizing the kitchen. Offenders broke out windows and damaged doors and locks, allowing them to access unsecured areas of the facility and do even more destruction. The correctional center’s food service employees, corrections officers, and other staff were at risk. Corrections Supervisor I (Captain) Ross, Corrections Officer III (Lieutenant) Huff, Corrections Supervisor I (Captain) Thompson, and Corrections Officer III (Lieutenant) Fritzinger acted decisively, first attempting to deescalate the situation and then moving swiftly to evacuate staff members as the threat level increased. Corrections officers bravely put their own safety at risk as they inserted themselves into volatile areas to extricate personnel and remove them from the building. In a turbulent situation that could have easily devolved into chaos, the Corrections team tactically deployed pepper spray and tear gas and secured doors. They helped evacuate and secure 131 surrendering offenders, containing inside the 78 holdouts, who caused extensive structural and property damage. Because of their brave actions, no staff members were injured, and no offenders sustained serious injuries.

Daniel B. Tscherny, Jason G. Bogema, Tony C. Fields, Joshua W. Bravestone, Zachary L. Keller, Garett L. Olson, Tyler R. Nevins, and Dustin C. Matney, Springfield Fire Department

2018 Class
Awarded on: 10/07/2019
Governor's Medal

At approximately 8:15 p.m. on September 7, 2018, during extremely heavy rainfall and flash flooding, Greene County Deputy Sheriff Aaron Paul Roberts radioed that his vehicle had been washed off a road in northern Greene County. The Fair Grove Fire Protection District was dispatched and informed that the vehicle was floating down Cabin Creek in swift water conditions. There had been no further contact with the deputy. Because of its water rescue capabilities, the Springfield Fire Department was immediately requested to assist. High, rushing water from the intense storm had inundated a bridge in the area, and the roiling creek and debris had pushed 100 yards beyond its banks. There was no sight of Deputy Roberts’ vehicle as the flooding worsened. Battling darkness and these dangerous conditions, firefighters and Greene County Sheriff’s deputies began searching for Deputy Roberts. Because the area was so heavily wooded, boating operations were terminated. Aircraft could not assist due to the weather conditions. With the water still rising, a foot search was conducted along both sides of the creek. After more than two hours, Deputy Roberts’ patrol vehicle was spotted about 450 yards downstream. Conditions still prevented boat operations. Despite the lack of contact with Deputy Roberts, the darkness, and extremely dangerous conditions, the Springfield team was determined to reach the vehicle in an effort to rescue the deputy as quickly as possible. In the darkness, the rescue team tied off to trees and utilized rope lines. The effort required a skilled team risking their own lives in a lengthy, highly technical operation. Working as one, the team of Rescue Specialist Tscherny, Captain Bogema, Firefighter Fields, Firefighter Bravestone, Firefighter Keller, Firefighter Olson, Firefighter Nevins, and Firefighter Matney reached the vehicle and recovered the body of Deputy Roberts. The Springfield team was nominated by Fair Grove Fire Department Chief Erich Higgins, who had first established command at the scene and was moved by the team’s courage and concern for a fellow public during the hours-long effort.

Private Louis Bollasina, Private Paul Clark, Captain Larry Conley, Private Marquis Hayes, Captain Michael Hostetler, Private Joe Johnson, Private Tim Mahnken, Private Patrick O’Brien, Private Patrick Pollihan, Captain Bryan Radley, Private Dave Ray, Private James Reynolds, Private Jeff Ronshausen, Private Dale Schultz, Private Tim Schultz, Battalion Chief Gary Steffens, Private Galen Taylor, Private John Vallero, Captain Joe Waring, EMT Andrew Beasley, Paramedic Daniel Goldfeld, Paramedic Dustin Lammert, EMT Antuan Knox, Paramedic Supervisor Colin McCoy, Paramedic Cameron Morton, EMT Nicholas Spiess, EMT Norman Walker, Paramedic James Wilson and Fire Equipment Dispatcher Angela Williams, St. Louis Fire Department

2017 Class
Awarded on: 11/13/2018
Governor's Medal

Shortly before 2 a.m. on Jan. 24, 2017, the St. Louis Fire Department was dispatched to a two-story, two family flat in north St. Louis that was on fire with multiple people trapped. Because of the extreme danger, multiple fire and EMS companies were dispatched to the scene, all of them made aware that a quick and coordinated search of the building was essential. On the scene within four minutes, firefighters learned several members of one family, including children, were trapped on the second floor, where the fire was burning. As firefighters climbed the stairs, they located the first victim on the stairs, unconscious and barely breathing. The victim was carried out of the burning building and resuscitated on the front lawn. Fighting high heat, flames and near zero visibility, firefighters conducting a coordinated search would locate another adult and five children on the burning second floor, all of them unconscious and in respiratory arrest. All of the victims were quickly removed from the building and revived. St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson has said that in his 40 years in the fire service he has never seen a more coordinated and heroic search and rescue with such a positive outcome.

Shawn Bice, Chris Brockelbank, Jeremiah Jones, and M. Corbin Thompson, West Plains Fire Department and Christopher Kimes and Tyler Pond, Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop G

2017 Class
Awarded on: 11/13/2018
Governor's Medal

On April 28, 2017, record flooding inundated West Plains as over 10 inches of rain fell in a matter of hours. The floodwaters swept vehicles off roads, homes and buildings off their foundations and put many people at great risk. Responders’ rescue boats capsized, were disabled or could not be deployed because of treacherous conditions. Country Meadows Trailer Park, east of West Plains, had quickly flooded, trapping residents. There were reports of a person having a heart attack and people on the roofs of trailers that were being swept away. West Plains Firefighters Bice, Brockelbank, Jones and Thompson, and Highway Patrol troopers Kimes and Pond, determined to approach the trailer park from railroad track on utility terrain vehicles. They then cut through thick brush and then waded across a field in chest-high water. Reaching the park, the four firefighters and two troopers’ rescues included three people who had been struggling to hold on in a trailer swept off its foundation and a woman who was experiencing chest pains and had to be carried to safety through the flooded field. The UTVs were used to transport the victims to waiting responders. A total of seven residents were rescued by the team, working as one unit, overcoming floodwaters, floating debris, heavy rain, lightning and many other obstacles.

Chris Bell, Gary Brower, Matt Cockrum, Richie Hammon, Grant Sholes and Kurt Wilbanks, West Plains Fire Department

2017 Class
Awarded on: 11/13/2018
Governor's Medal

On April 28, 2017, a second team of six West Plains firefighters and one civilian was focused on potentially catastrophic flash flooding that was turning small creeks into rushing rivers. Hundreds of homes were inundated. Howell County 911 was overwhelmed with rescue calls. Swift water rescue boats were not available. The team of Captain Wilbanks, Engineers Bell, Hammon and Sholes and Firefighters Brower and Cockrum, along with West Plains City Councilman Cary Stewart, proceeded in a firetruck, using a pike pole to find the roadway. They would continue to improvise in terribly adverse conditions – outfitting a borrowed johnboat and single paddle with forcible entry tools and rope rigging. They made rescues using the firetruck, boat and on foot through waist deep floodwater. In all, 92 people were rescued, with four patients delivered to the hospital by boat. Those rescued included the elderly, injured, a homebound elderly woman on oxygen and about three dozen college students who sought refuge on the roof of a dormitory.