Unit Citation – Chief Donald Jackson, Captain Shane Erickson, Volunteers Dominic Cox, Angelo Gannon, and Andrew Hendershot
A Frederick County, Virginia resident might not be with us today if it were not for the bravery of four Frederick County Firefighters who rushed through the front door to return with the then 54-year-old resident just before the pathway became engulfed in flames.
Chief Donald Jackson arrived at the residence after responding from his home to find a female victim lying on the floor, attempting to crawl out of the building as flames danced from the front and right side of the house. Engine 16 was coming up the driveway just in time to enter the home and return with the female victim safely. The patient was given immediate medical attention by Captain Erickson until an ambulance from Gore Fire and Rescue arrived to transport the victim to Winchester Medical Center for possible complications from smoke inhalation. The patient was then transferred to the MedStar Burn Unit in Washington D.C. and has since made a full recovery from that dreadful early morning.
The Gainesboro Fire and Rescue Department then worked with three other companies from Gore, North Mountain, and Round Hill to extinguish the blaze in a remote wooded area.
Chief Donald Jackson, Captain Shane Erickson, Volunteers Dominic Cox, Angelo Gannon, and Andrew Hendershot were awarded a Unit Citation for their actions on May 27, 2021.
Lifesaving Award – Corporal Nathan Morris
When a 911 call came in to dispatch and was immediately hung up, Corporal Nathan Morris was dispatched to a Winchester, Virginia home to find an 18-month-old child lifeless and blue in color. It was learned that the child ingested Fentanyl. Sergeant Frank Myrtle arrived at the home to find Corporal Morris administering CPR while also dealing with frantic relatives of the child. Corporal Morris conducted CPR for 90 seconds before the child gasped for air. The child was administered Narcan on route to Winchester Medical Center and again at the hospital. The child was later transported to Fairfax Hospital and has since recovered.
Corporal Nathan Morris was awarded the Lifesaving Award for his actions on May 1, 2021.
Lifesaving Award – Deputy Kendra and Deputy Marcelle
The teamwork of two Frederick County Sheriffs before Frederick County Fire and Rescue is credited for saving the life of a 55-year-old male that was found unconscious and not breathing in a Stephen’s City home. Deputy Anthony Kendra and Deputy Robert Marcelle were relieved from CPR duties upon the arrival of Frederick County Fire and Rescue personnel, who proceeded to transport the victim to the Intensive Care Unit of the Winchester Medical Center for advanced care and further testing.
Deputy Kendra and Deputy Marcelle were awarded the Lifesaving Award for their actions on February 13, 2021.
Lifesaving Award – Quinten Kuhn and Kyle Russell
There are moments when officers walk onto the scene of an incident knowing that they face danger, and yet they still arrive with the intention to save those very same people who threaten to hurt Law Enforcement. Deputy Quinten Kuhn and Deputy Kyle Russell did just that. Responding to a 911 call in Clearbrook, Virginia, Deputies Kuhn and Russell saved the life of a male who was threatening to injure any arriving officers. The male was observed in the doorway of the residence, bleeding profusely after self-inflicting stab wounds to his neck and chest. The Frederick County Sheriff Deputies utilized a towel to apply pressure to the male until the arrival of Frederick County Fire and Rescue personnel before he was transported to Winchester Medical Center for immediate surgery.
Deputy Kuhn and Deputy Russell were awarded the Lifesaving Award for their actions on January 22, 2021.
Lifesaving Award – Lieutenant Jacob White, Specialist Bryan Beverage, Technician Tyler Frisbey
When everything goes wrong, we can count on our First Responders to correct some of these wrongs. A young male was skateboarding with his friends before a seemingly tragic incident occurred in the middle of the afternoon. Citizens made their first phone call to North Mountain Fire Department Station 19 to notify crews of an incoming vehicle with a head injury to a now unconscious male. Station 19 relayed the information to dispatch. Lieutenant Jacob White and Technician Tyler Frisbey received the call at Station 19 and then received help from Specialist Bryan Beverage who was on assignment at Gainesboro Fire Department Station 16 after dispatch was notified of the injury.
The victim was bleeding from the ears and suffering from limb posturing, a sign of brain injury, when he arrived at the station where Lieutenant White and Technician Frisbey were able to move him from the vehicle to the ambulance. The vehicle arrived so quickly that personnel had no time to prepare themselves or any equipment. They were able to start initial EMS care until Specialist Beverage arrived to assume care as a paramedic. As care was given, the victim gained consciousness and became highly combative due to his injuries. It was decided by personnel to chemically paralyze the patient in a high-risk Medically Assisted Intubation to prevent injury to EMS providers or further injury to the patient himself.
Station 19 requested a helicopter transport to assist with the call, but high winds and poor weather conditions would not allow the Medevac to transport patients. Adapting to and overcoming the situation, the patient was ground transported to Winchester Medical Center, where he was treated for severe head injury and internal bleeding. Follow-up procedures had to be done to continue to relieve internal pressure in his head but he is alive today due to the quick thinking of all personnel involved.
Lieutenant Jacob White, Specialist Bryan Beverage, Technician Tyler Frisbey were awarded the Lifesaving Award for their actions on October 26, 2021.
Lifesaving Award and Citizen’s Award – Deputy David Cullers and Hunter Douglas Mundy
Hunter Mundy is known for his big heart and helping others through his non-profit organization, Fallen Riders Inc. He put those words into action one evening after winning a Winchester-based billiards tournament. The runner-up team had come up to congratulate Hunter and his team on their win when one of the teammates fell to the floor and became unresponsive just before midnight. Hunter’s wife, Nikki, who works at Winchester Medical Center, cleared the area around the fallen player after checking for a pulse. Hunter began CPR immediately.
Moments later, Deputy David Cullers arrived at the scene. The 65-year-old male was only taking a breath every fifteen to thirty seconds and was in apparent agony. Deputy Cullers took over CPR duties from Mr. Mundy and did so until Frederick County Fire and Rescue arrived. The victim had begun breathing on his own and eventually talking while being transported to Winchester Medical Center for care and testing.
Hunter Mundy was awarded the Citizen’s Award and Deputy David Cullers received the Lifesaving Award for their actions on March 4, 2021.
Lifesaving Award – Deputy Samantha Garrison, Deputy Doug Sardelis, Deputy Matthew Keefer, Deputy Eric White, Investigator Travis Adamson, and Investigator Jeremiah Bowman
Domestic violence calls are among the most challenging calls that Law Enforcement responds to. Frederick County Sheriffs knew that information when they responded to a call for domestic assault and possible abduction in progress in the morning hours. Extra deputies were sent to prepare for the unknown.
Deputy Samantha Garrison and Deputy Doug Sardelis were first to arrive on scene and discovered a male holding a box cutter to his own throat. They commanded him to drop the weapon. Instead, the subject cut his own throat and ran down an embankment into the woods. Investigator Travis Adamson, Investigator Jeremiah Bowman, Deputy Matthew Keefer, and Deputy Eric White had since arrived and quickly joined the deputies. They brought first aid supplies as Deputies Garrison and Sardelis located the male in the woods. They began working as a team to apply pressure bandages and quick clot before the arrival of Frederick County Fire and Rescue personnel. The subject was transported to Winchester Medical Center for surgery and later admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.
Deputy Samantha Garrison, Deputy Doug Sardelis, Deputy Matthew Keefer, Deputy Eric White, Investigator Travis Adamson, and Investigator Jeremiah Bowman were awarded the Lifesaving Award for their actions on September 18, 2020.
Lifesaving Award – Sergeant Stephen Gregory, Deputy Eric Cutter, Deputy Brandon Russell, Deputy Jesse Suire, and Deputy Joshua Tanner
Law Enforcement can save a life by not always taking a life. When an officer is confronted with a subject that is brandishing a weapon, lives can be in danger and therefore, life-changing consequences can happen in the blink of an eye. A Sergeant and four Deputies showed ultimate restraint when they chose not to take the life of a 61-year-old male who made suicidal statements on social media and walked onto the front porch of his home with a handgun in his hand. Later, in an interview, he acknowledged that he had considered suicide by officer.
When Sergeant Stephen Gregory, Deputy Eric Cutter, Deputy Brandon Russell, Deputy Jesse Suire, and Deputy Joshua Tanner arrived to a Winchester residence, the subject of the 911 dispatch was observed seated in a recliner with a handgun in hand. The Frederick County Sheriffs immediately sought cover. Deputy Russell and Deputy Tanner began to communicate with the subject through a screened front porch. The male walked to the front door with the gun still clutched in his hand. Deputies continued to communicate with the subject. He eventually sat down and laid the gun on the porch beside him. Communications continued. Finally, the subject complied with pleas to walk away from the weapon into the front yard. He was detained without further incident and taken to Winchester Medical Center, where he was admitted for behavioral health treatment by Northwestern Community Services.
Sergeant Stephen Gregory, Deputy Eric Cutter, Deputy Brandon Russell, Deputy Jesse Suire, and Deputy Joshua Tanner were awarded the Lifesaving Award for their actions on November 28, 2020.
Lifesaving Award – Lieutenant Branyon Williams, Master Technician Bryant Gochenour, Master Technician Bryant Gochenour, Master Technician Scott Matthews, Firefighter/Paramedic Quinton Godfrey, and Firefighter/Paramedic Robert Mull
A cardiac arrest at an in-patient rehab center led to the successful resuscitation of a pulseless and apneic patient when Winchester Fire Department personnel arrived on scene. Staff at the center were performing CPR when they arrived to relieve the staff of their CPR duties.
Lieutenant Branyon Williams, Master Technician Bryant Gochenour, Master Technician Bryant Gochenour, Master Technician Scott Matthews, Firefighter/Paramedic Quinton Godfrey, and Firefighter/Paramedic Robert Mull quickly assessed the patient and applied the LUCAS mechanical CPR device. The patient was transported to Winchester Medical Center, arriving with a sustained pulse, blood pressure, and response to neurological stimulations.
Lieutenant Branyon Williams, Master Technician Bryant Gochenour, Master Technician Bryant Gochenour, Master Technician Scott Matthews, Firefighter/Paramedic Quinton Godfrey, and Firefighter/Paramedic Robert Mull were awarded the Lifesaving Award for their actions on December 9, 2020.
Lifesaving Award – Battalion Chief Matt DeHaven, Captain John Ball, Lieutenant Chris Yost, Firefighter Interim Len Clowser, Firefighter Paramedic Scott Livengood, Master Technician Chris Umphrey
On a beautiful day in November, David Lovingood heard his wife, Tonya Marlowe, yell for him when a neighbor collapsed on her front porch. Another neighbor, Whitney Ruybalid, was already looking for a pulse and starting chest compressions when David came out of his own home. David’s CPR training kicked in, and he began to perform rescue breathing as he teamed up with Whitney. A few minutes went by that felt like an eternity.
Soon, the Winchester Fire and Rescue Department arrived on scene to find David and Whitney still performing CPR on the collapsed neighbor. Battalion Chief Matt DeHaven, Captain John Ball, Lieutenant Chris Yost, Firefighter Interim Len Clowser, Firefighter Paramedic Scott Livengood, Master Technician Chris Umphrey recognized that the patient was in a shockable rhythm and delivered appropriate defibrillation. The team worked effectively, efficiently, and professionally to provide the best possible medical care while in the field. Now trying to breathe on her own, the patient was taken to Winchester Medical Center, where she recovered.
Battalion Chief Matt DeHaven, Captain John Ball, Lieutenant Chris Yost, Firefighter Interim Len Clowser, Firefighter Paramedic Scott Livengood, Master Technician Chris Umphrey were awarded the Lifesaving Award for their actions on November 9, 2020.
David Lovingood and Whitney Ruybalid were awarded the Citizen’s Award for their actions on November 9, 2020.
Certificate of Valor – Technician Heath Whitted and Firefighter Matthew Dowd
Summer fun can take an instant turn for the worst when soaring temperatures take a toll on the human body. Stephen’s City Fire and Rescue was dispatched for heat exhaustion to a local venue on a day that had reached 90 degrees. The Stephen’s City medic on duty at the time was preparing to clear the Winchester Medical Center and unable to respond quickly enough to the call. Technician Heath Whitted and Firefighter Matthew Dowd responded to the call as quickly as they could. When they arrived, they were notified that the patient was not unresponsive as initially reported. The patient was suffering from a cardiac arrest, not heat exhaustion. Technician Whitted and Firefighter Dowd began CPR and requested additional support. Medic 11-3 was now able to respond en route from Winchester Medical Center. Medic 12-1 and Assistant Chief Majchrzak had also responded to the incident. Technician Whitted and Firefighter Dowd continued to perform CPR, defibrillated the patient twice, established an advanced airway by utilizing a King Device, and had attached a Lucas Device to provide chest compressions. While having the training, these tasks are far from their everyday job and required them to think quickly on their feet.
When Medic 12-1 from Middletown and Medic 11-3 arrived, the patient was unconscious but had a strong pulse and was breathing independently. The patient continued to stabilize as crews prepared to transfer them to the Emergency Room. Upon arrival, a blockage was found and corrected by the catherization lab allowing the patient to recover and ultimately, be discharged home.
Technician Heath Whitted and Firefighter Matthew Dowd were awarded the Certificate of Valor for their actions on July 29, 2020.
Unit Citation – Winchester Emergency Communications ECS III Kelly Brill, ECS III Andrea Turner, ECS III Jen Hardy
Meritorious Action – Winchester Police Department Officer Jeffery Ferraro and Officer Luke Callas
Gold Award of Valor – Sergeant Amber Polk
Gold Award of Valor – 1st Sergeant Sean O’Connor
Many people live in the City of Winchester, Clarke, and Frederick Counties for the quiet community atmosphere where neighbors know and wave to each other while they peacefully go about a day full of hard work or adventurous play. The coffee shop knows your name and just the right amount of cream or sugar for your cup. You may have left your footprints in one of the many outdoor areas to come together to meet new people or enjoy a moment with friends or family. This area is a beautiful place to live and be.
November 11, 2020 started out to be another wonderful day in the valley and, for many, was a wonderful day, but an early phone call to 911 rocked the next few hours for a neighborhood within Winchester city limits. During a shift change for the Winchester Emergency Communications Center, a call came in for a reported vandalism in progress. The caller stated that a neighbor had just smashed the window in the caller’s truck for no apparent reason. ECS III Jen Hardy had taken the call and reported it to ECS III Andrea Turner, who dispatched two officers to the address. ECS Turner said later, “it just didn’t feel right, so I sent two officers.” ECS Hardy remained on the phone with the caller until the dispatched officers had arrived. ECS Specialist Kelly Brill began to communicate to the unit over the radio after ECS Turner had dispatched the officers.
Officers Jeffery Ferraro and Luke Callas arrived and made contact with the caller, who walked up to greet the officers. The caller stated that he had gotten out of the shower and heard a loud boom in front of his home. He opened the door to find the neighbor standing at the caller’s vehicle with a hammer raised in his hand after smashing the driver-side window. The caller and the officers spoke for just eight seconds before the assailant walked out to a front porch with a rifle, later to be determined as an AR-15. Everyone took immediate cover behind vehicles. The neighborhood wrapped five buildings around a cul-de-sac and left the officers and caller centrally located with little cover to work with, while the assailant was able to take cover with an elevated position from a brick home and brick porch structure. The officers reported the armed male to dispatch. They began to communicate with the armed male to deescalate the situation. Officer Callas repeatedly asked for help in understanding why the male had taken such an extreme action. “Sir, will you talk to us?” Officer Callas asked. “No,” was the answer from the porch. “Can you explain what’s going on?” Callas asked. “Don’t come anywhere near me,” the male replied. Officer Jeffery Ferraro tried to make a connection next, “We are not going to come anywhere near you, man, we just want to talk.” They continued to ask questions to try to peacefully resolve this conflict. Additional units had been dispatched to the location by ECS Brill and were soon arriving.
A second caller had reported the incident, and ECS Hardy remained on the line with that caller to obtain additional information to try to assist officers the best she could. At this time, her shift was already supposed to be over. She remained to assist in any way that she could. An additional officer pulled into the cul-de-sac, and shots were fired by the assailant while ECS Hardy was on the phone with the neighbor. She advised the second caller to take immediate cover.
Corporal Amber Polk (now Sergeant) had arrived on the scene to assist the pinned-down officers. She pulled into the cul-de-sac shaped parking lot to provide cover to retrieve the other officers to safety. Immediately, she was met with rapid gunfire. The armed male fired fifteen shots in her direction. Four bullets penetrated the hood of the vehicle as others deflected from the angle of impact. These four penetrating bullets disabled the police cruiser. Corporal Polk was now trapped in her vehicle in a plain line of sight from the active shooter. The rear end of the vehicle was faced directly at the armed male. The initial officers were still pinned opposite of her vehicle but closer to the assailant.
As gunshots rang throughout the neighborhood, ECS Brill heard these over the radio and dispatched more units to the location, giving them the location of the shooter, location of the trapped officers, documenting all radio traffic, and advising officers on-scene to continued safety. She remained calm despite all the chaos that was unfolding.
Officers Ferraro and Callas were still trapped by the location, elevation, and at this point, superior firepower of the shooter. Their fellow officer’s cruiser had just sustained vehicle-disabling fire that left her trapped and wide open to more gunfire. Despite all that had happened, the two officers continued to try to communicate with the shooter to find a resolution. They were also communicating the location of the shooter to additional arriving units utilizing hand signals to avoid audible radio communication. Nearly ten minutes go by after the shots were fired. All officers are still trapped in their location. The suspect continues to raise his rifle at the officers, waiting for them to attempt to move. Corporal Sean O’Connor (now Sergeant) arrives at the scene, along with other units.
Corporal O’Connor quickly assesses the safety of the officers involved. He then begins to try to communicate with the shooter from a distance, yelling the shooter’s name to build rapport and convince him to lower the weapon. There is no response from the shooter. Corporal O’Connor moves to a closer position and continues to call for the assailant to lower the weapon. There is a clear line of sight for the suspect and Corporal O’Connor now. Each time that Corporal O’Connor attempts to speak with the suspect, the suspect points the AR-15 at Corporal O’Connor.
Corporal O’Connor alerts command that he has a “direct line.” He calls for the assailant to drop the rifle one last time before taking the shot that has just been authorized. The first shot drops the suspect to the ground, still on the porch and still armed. “Move, move,” O’Connor shouts to the trapped officers who have their first chance to move out of their perilous position. The suspect raises the rifle again as the officers move, and Corporal O’Connor takes one more shot that fully disables the shooter.
Corporal O’Connor then begins to coordinate an approach toward the suspect. They approach and begin to perform life-saving measures. Emergency Medical Services quickly arrive on-scene. The suspect is later pronounced as deceased.
ECS Hardy and ECS Turner are still in the Emergency Communications Center assisting with phone calls that were coming in, documenting, providing notification, and assisting with day-to-day operations that had been put on hold while Winchester Police officers were under fire. Had they not responded calmly and efficiently throughout the whole incident, officers could have easily been injured or killed.
Winchester Emergency Communications ECS III Kelly Brill, ECS III Andrea Turner, ECS III Jen Hardy were awarded a Unit Citation for their actions on November 11, 2020.
Officer Callas and Officer Ferraro were trapped for nearly twenty minutes, just feet away from the armed suspect, and continued to assist arriving officers while attempting to resolve the situation through communication with the shooter.
Winchester Police Department Officer Luke Callas and Officer Jeffery Ferraro were awarded the Meritorious Action Award for their actions on November 11, 2020.
Corporal Polk arrived on scene to assist her trapped fellow officers and sustained multiple shots to her vehicle that trapped her in a direct line of fire with an active shooter. Her bravery to attempt this rescue is said to define her very character by fellow officers.
Corporal Amber Polk has since been promoted to Sergeant and was awarded the Gold Award of Valor for her actions on November 11, 2020.
As for Corporal O’Connor, Sergeant Amber Polk may have said it best. “If not for O’Connor, the Winchester Police Department would have been planning for active-duty deaths. I cannot stress enough that if O’Connor was not working that day, would not take his training seriously, and did not take charge in his calm and direct manner; I would not be writing this nomination letter.”
Corporal Sean O’Connor has since been promoted to 1st Sergeant and was awarded the Gold Award of Valor for his actions on November 11, 2020.
An officer who had shots fired at him by a bank robber, firefighters who ran into a burning home in an attempt to save lives, and a citizen who saved the life of a priest by administering CPR. These are three examples of heroic actions that were honored at previous Valor Awards ceremonies.
The award categories are as follows:
CITIZENS AWARD - Recognition of citizen(s) for their extraordinary acts of courage in emergency situations or actions which directly result in the saving of a human life.
UNIT CITATION - Recognition of acts by a unit/division/company demonstrating unusual judgment, ingenuity and/or personal risk and bravery during an emergency situation, when such action is beyond that normally expected in the performance of duty.
MERITORIOUS ACTION AWARD - Recognition of individuals for exemplary action, placing themselves in a situation of personal risk.
LIFESAVING AWARD - Recognition of actions in emergency circumstances which directly results in saving of a human life.
CERTIFICATE OF VALOR - Recognition of actions demonstrating unusual judgment, zeal or ingenuity, not normally involved in the performance of duties.
BRONZE AWARD OF VALOR - Recognition of acts involving personal risk and demonstrating unusual judgment, zeal and/or ingenuity during an emergency situation, when such action is beyond that normally expected in the performance of duty.
SILVER AWARD OF VALOR - Recognition of acts involving significant personal risk and bravery beyond that which is expected during the normal performance of duty.
GOLD AWARD OF VALOR - Recognition of acts involving supreme sacrifice or extreme personal risk and heroism which is clearly above and beyond the call of duty.
Gold Award of Valor
Sergeant (Retired) Nicholas D. Chambers, Clarke County Sheriffs Office
Silver Award of Valor
Officer Bryan Derryberry and Officer Bryan Derryberry, Winchester Police Department
Deputy Nathan B. Spence, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office
Bronze Award of Valor
Sergeant Stephen D. Gregory and Deputy Gerald W. Umbel, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office
Certificate of Valor
Officer Bryan Derryberry, Winchester Police Department
Deputy William M. Comstock and Deputy Eric R. Cutter, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office
Lieutenant Adam Still, Winchester Fire & Rescue Department
Detective Jesse Thurman, Winchester Police Department
Deputy Matthew Clark, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office
Deputy Travis L. Bridgeforth, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office
Deputy Jason Walther, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office
Deputy Donmanuel O. Garcia, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office
Sergeant Stephen D. Gregory, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office
Sergeant Bryan C. Smith, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office
Officer Joseph Shoremount, Berryville Police Department
Meritorious Action Award
Officer Preston Funk, Berryville Police Department
Frederick County Fire and Rescue: North Mountain Fire and Rescue
Rescue Sergeant Bejamin Smith
Technician James Lanman
Specialist Bryan Beverage
Technician Ryan Steele
Technician Joe Spacht
Winchester Fire and Rescue: Station 1-B Shift
Firefighter/EMT Quinton Godfrey
Lieutenant Gerald Bohus
Battalion Chief Larry Baker
Master Technician Brian Roth
Volunteer Firefighter Ryan Lonas
Dispatcher Andrea Turner
Winchester Fire and Rescue: WFRD: Engine 1, Medic 1, Ladder 2
Battalion Chief Larry Baker
Lieutenant Gerald Bohus
Firefighter Brian Roth
Firefighter/EMT Jeff Hartman
Master Technician Dustin Amtower
Master Technician Chris Dunn
Firefighter Thomas Whipple
Firefighter Michael Vickers
Gold Citizen of the Year
Bailey Dillow, Winchester Medical Center
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