Nine safety officers awarded Missouri Medal of Valor

Gov. Jay Nixon awarded the Missouri Medal of Valor to nine public safety officers in a ceremony at the State Capitol Wednesday.

The officers are recognized for their exceptional bravery and heroism in efforts to save lives and protect the public during 2012.

The officers represent Missouriâ??s fire service, a rural sheriffâ??s department, urban and suburban police agencies, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol. They responded to a variety of challenges and threats including rescuing people from burning buildings and vehicles, and stopping deadly threats posed to others by armed criminals.

â??These nine brave men and women represent the highest ideal of the commitment of Missouriâ??s public safety officers to public service,â?? Gov. Nixon said. â??The circumstances of each heroic, life-saving act were different, but in every instance the officers had to take swift, decisive and courageous action that was focused entirely on protecting the public. They faced dangerous gunmen, went into burning buildings and vehicles, and in one instance even mustered the herculean strength to raise an SUV off a motorist who was perilously close to dying.â??

Family members and colleagues were on hand for the presentation of Missouriâ??s highest public safety award during a ceremony in the Governorâ??s office in the Capitol.

Gov. Nixon was joined at the ceremony by Department of Public Safety Director Jerry Lee. The newest Medal of Valor recipients are:

David W. Crank, Missouri State Highway Patrol

Thomas M. Kenyon, Oâ??Fallon Police Department

Michael W. Vernon, Florissant Police Department

Kevin A. Bacon, West County EMS and Fire Protection District

Gerad G. Gonzalez, Manchester Police Department

Jared W. Debrecht, Iron County Sheriffâ??s Department

Robert D. Bratcher, Liberty Police Department

Nominations are now open for acts performed during 2013 and must be received by March 31, 2014.

Click here for a copy of the ominating form from the Missouri Department of Public Safety website.