September 25, 2023

Media Advisory: Missouri to Award State Public Safety Medals to First Responders and Civilians from Across State in Jefferson City Ceremony

On Thursday, September 28, the State of Missouri will confer Missouri Public Safety medals to 18 first responders for heroic acts beyond the call of duty performed during 2022. The presentations will be made by Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, who will present 10 Missouri Medals of Valor for exceptional courage and heroism in an attempt to protect or save human life. Lt. Governor Kehoe will also present nine Red, White and Blue Heart Awards to first responders seriously or fatally injured in the line of duty. Six of the Red, White and Blue Heart awards will be bestowed posthumously. (One first responder is receiving both award.)

Lt. Governor Kehoe will also present four civilians with awards for exceptional acts to assist first responders during 2022.

Thursday, September 28

WHO:             Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe

                        Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten

WHAT:          Presentation of Missouri Public Safety Medals – Medal of Valor, Red, White and Blue Heart Award, and Public Safety Civilian Partnership Award 

WHEN:          1:30 p.m.

WHERE:        Missouri State Highway Patrol

Law Enforcement Training Academy Gymnasium

1510 East Elm Street
Jefferson City, MO 65102

(The ceremony will be streamed live on the Missouri Department of Public Safety Facebook page beginning at 1:30 p.m:

The award recipients are:

Public Safety Civilian Partnership Award:

  • Kevin Jeffries and Justin Parrack, nominated by Missouri State Highway Patrol for risking their own lives to stop a runaway vehicle traveling the wrong way on a state highway and then performing CPR on the driver who had suffered a heart attack. 
  • Shane Childress, nominated by Branson Police Department for his life-saving role following a head-on collision and vehicle fire near his restaurant.  
  • Joseph Sapp, nominated by Branson Police Department for bravely assisting a police officer who was being assaulted outside in an apartment complex parking lot.

Medal of Valor:

  • Trooper Adam R. Shipley, Missouri State Highway Patrol, for ending the abduction of a woman and her child in a remote wooded area of southeast Missouri.
  • Capt. William Davis and Officer Rick Hirshey, Joplin Police Department, for ending the threat posed by a gunman who was fleeing after mortally wounding two other Joplin Police officers.
  • Capt. Barry Morgan, Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office and Trooper Joshua J. Schuenemeyer, Missouri State Highway Patrol, for their herculean efforts to rescue a driver trapped in a burning truck in the aftermath of a deadly chain-reaction crash involving more than 45 vehicles on Interstate 57 in southeast Missouri.
  • Agent Donald Fessler, Missouri Department of Conservation, for his life-saving efforts following the crash and derailment of an Amtrak train near Mendon, Mo.
  • Sgt. Tanner Muckenthaler and Officer Brendan Gamble, Branson Police Department, for their life-saving efforts in the rescue of a man trapped in a burning vehicle following a head-on collision.
  • Deputy Sheriff Shane Blankenship, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and Cpl. Terry Bible, Missouri State Highway Patrol, for the life-saving rescue of a driver trapped inside a burning truck in Lawrence County.

Red, White and Blue Heart Award:

  • Firefighter Benjamin Polson, St. Louis Fire Department was killed in the line of duty when the roof collapsed as he was fighting a fire in a vacant structure.
  • Cpl. Benjamin L. Cooper, Officer Jake A. Reed and Officer Rick Hirshey, Joplin Police Department all responded to what began as a response to a disturbance at a business. Cpl. Cooper and Officer Reed were mortally wounded when a suspect they were attempting to take into custody pulled a concealed gun and shot them. Officer Hirshey was severely wounded when the fleeing gunman shot him in the face.
  • Patrolman Lane Burns and Cpl. Garrett Worley, Bonne Terre Police Department were ambushed by a gunman as they responded to a disturbance call at a motel. Patrolman Burns was mortally wounded. Cpl. Worley was seriously wounded and had to undergo several surgeries and advanced treatment.
  • Firefighter Dustin Brandhorst, Ebenezer Fire Protection District was killed when he was driving a tender truck to a structure fire and he was unable to negotiate a curve and the truck overturned.
  • Officer Daniel F. Vasquez, North Kansas City Police Department was fatally shot when he stopped a motorist for an expired temporary license plate.
  • Capt. Craig Cook, Fort Osage Fire Protection District suffered severe burns and lost several fingers as he battled a rapidly-advancing brush fire in rural Jackson County. He spent over four months in a hospital and rehab facility. 


For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail