JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson presented Missouri Public Safety Medals to 11 first responders and six civilians for responding to emergency situations in 2019 Tuesday morning.
“Each year, this award ceremony demonstrates the heroic, life-saving acts our first responders selflessly perform to protect their fellow Missourians,” Parson said. “Today, we honored 11 law enforcement officers and firefighters who bravely risked their lives to save others. Their acts serve as an inspiration and reminder of the risk these public servants take on each and every day.”
Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten officiated the event, commending honorees for their work in the line of duty.
“I have a deep understanding and continued respect for the incredibly important work our Missouri first responders do,” she said. “Each year, I’m amazed as I read the stories of their heroic actions. It’s a true honor for me to be a part of the ceremony and to meet the responders we honor today.”
Parson awarded the Medal of Valor to six first responders for their actions in 2019:
Shawn Dougherty and Jason Kuessner of Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop D were recognized for rescuing an injured officer in the line of gunfire last August.
Keaton Ebersold of Troop H and Shannon Sherwood of the Rock Port Police Department were commended for de-escalating a hostage situation in Atchison County in January 2019.
Thomas Buchness of the Christian County Sheriff’s Office was recognized for rescuing a woman from drowning in the Finley River in June.
Christopher Robertson of the Calverton Park Police Department was commended for his attempt to rescue a child and a fellow officer from a closed public pool in Ferguson last December.
The Governor’s Medal was awarded to Duane Greer, Christopher Erb Jr., Patrick Ferguson, James Fuchs, and Joshua Roth of the St. Louis Fire Department for rescuing four children from a burning apartment building last August.
Five citizens were awarded the Public Safety Civilian Partnership Award for assisting first responders in emergency situations. Parson praised the recipients for their willingness to act despite the danger at hand.
“The citizens we honored today are also inspirational,” Parson said. “They willingly faced incredible dangers to protect law enforcement and members of the public. It was my honor to stand among these courageous Missourians.”
Jason Gamm, Rick Shannon, and Wesley Teague were awarded for assisting a Trenton police officer in apprehending a violent prisoner last June.
Thomas Hutsler II was commended for helping to de-escalate a violent encounter at a Kansas City vehicle licensing office in July.
James and Robert Whitley were honored for rescuing five people after a boating accident last August.