Governor Jay Nixon awarded the Medal of Valor to ten law enforcement officers at a ceremony in his office at the State Capitol. The medal is presented for extraordinary acts of bravery and heroism. The recipients received the medal for their efforts to save lives and protect the public in 2013.
Department of Public Safety Director Daniel Isom and Highway Patrol superintendent Colonel Ron Replogle joined Nixon for the presentation.
Nixon thanked the entire Missouri law enforcement community in his opening remarks. Nixon said there are times when it is especially important to recognize and honor law enforcement for what they do on a daily basis.
“In each of these instances, law enforcement officers receiving this accommodation clearly put their own lives at risk – at extreme risk quite frankly – on behalf of their fellow Missourians.”
Senator Mike Kehoe attended the ceremony. He said it’s a good time of the year to reflect, count our blessings, and thank those who are out protecting us.
“We should recognize first responders and law enforcement every day really. This is just officially the one time of the year we do it at the highest level, but I think we all need to be aware of what these men and women go through on a daily basis to keep us safe.”
Among those awarded the Medal of Valor were two Jefferson City police officers. Officer Brad King and Officer Jason Sederwall saved a Holt Summit woman from a burning jeep in December of 2013. Despite King’s 7 foot 1 and 320 pound frame, King crawled through the back of the jeep to reach the victim.
Officer King says it’s humbling to be recognized, but he doesn’t deserve all the credit.
“Jason and I are getting all this recognition, but if Kathrine didn’t do what we told her to do and be just as strong as us, the outcome would have been different.”
The recipients of the Medal of Valor are listed below. (Taken from a press release from Governor Nixon’s office):
- Michael C. Hoefle, St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department – On the night of Feb. 15, 2013, while patrolling near West Alton, Deputy Hoefle (Hay-flee) watched a car speed into a parking area near the Mississippi River. As Deputy Hoefle moved toward the vehicle, it drove over parking blocks and into the river. The vehicle began sinking 50 feet from the shore. The lone occupant, a woman crawled to the back seat and attempted to kick out a rear window as the car continued to sink. Water was filling the passenger compartment. Deputy Hoefle entered the water, got to the vehicle, used his window punch to break out the rear window and quickly extracted the woman from the vehicle. He then pulled her to the shore and out of the frigid water into the 30-degree air. The driver was transported to a hospital and treated for hypothermia.
- Brock E. Kelley, Independence Police Department – On April 7, 2013, Officer Kelley and another Independence Police officer responded to the Econo Lodge on 42nd Terrace for a reported theft at the motel. Upon arrival, employees directed the officers to two men outside the motel who had allegedly been stealing items from a guest room. As the officers approached, one of the suspects ran. The officers pursued on foot. After rounding a corner of the building, the suspect drew a handgun and began shooting at the officers. Officer Kelley was so close he felt the muzzle flash from the gunman’s weapon on his face and arm. The gunman continued firing a total of 13 shots at the officers. Officer Kelley fired three rounds from his service weapon, striking the gunman.
- Daniel J. Johnson and Jason W. Philpott, Missouri State Highway Patrol – In the early morning hours of April 18, 2013, Douglas County was inundated following prolonged and heavy rainfall. Flash flooding swamped low-lying areas. At 8:10 a.m., Troopers Johnson and Philpott responded to a call for an elderly couple trapped in the mobile home near Route A and County Road 409. Water was entering the residence and quickly rising. Troopers Johnson and Philpott launched a Patrol boat, got to the home, outfitted the couple with personal flotation devices and placed them into the rescue boat. As they pulled away, the vessel’s motor stalled after the propeller became entangled in barbed wire. The vessel began turning and taking on water in the swift current. The troopers paddled vigorously, attempting to get to a nearby outbuilding, but the boat capsized. All four occupants began drifting downstream in the swift moving water, headed toward a certain crash into a flooded concrete bridge. Troopers Johnson and Philpott each swam to and retrieved the elderly couple. Once they had them, they swam against the swift current and brought them to shore, just a few feet from the edge of the concrete bridge.
- Justin Glen Wooten, Scott County Sheriff’s Department – At approximately 2:30 a.m. on May 25, 2013, Deputy (now Corporal) Wooten responded to a chaotic scene: two freight trains had collided and derailed, collapsing the Route M overpass never Rockview in Scott County. A diesel fire lit the night sky for miles around. A total of seven people were injured in both automobiles on the buckled overpass and the engine of one of the trains, which was burning. The two-man train crew was trapped inside the crumpled engine with the fire growing. Without hesitation or regard for his own safety, Deputy Wooten climbed into the overturned engine and single handedly extricated the engineer and conductor, who were unable to get out on their own. Freeing one of the men, a diabetic, who was immobile, required locating an alternate exit as flames neared the train’s fuel tanks. With the victims out, Deputy Wooten and arriving medical personnel moved them down a steep incline to a safe area away from the crash scene.
- Kyle M. Weiss, Pevely Police Department; and Nina M. Osia and Michael T. Toombs, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department – In the early morning hours of Oct. 11, 2013, Sheriff’s Deputies Osia (Oh-shee) and Toombs received permission to search a residence in rural Jefferson County where a man was wanted for a felony and fugitive warrant. As Deputy Osia walked down the stairs into the basement, she spotted a gunman crouched with an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle. Deputy Osia attempted to push Deputy Toombs, who was behind her, and yelled, “He’s got a gun!” The gunman began firing at both deputies, hitting Deputy Osia in her leg and knocking her to the floor. Deputy Toombs quickly began to drag Deputy Osia out of the line of fire while returning fire at the gunman. Deputy Toombs was then struck in the left arm by at least two bullets from the gunman. Both deputies worked to cover one another as they returned fire, and they administered first aid to each other. They radioed for backup units, but the gunman escaped. Six hours later, Pevely Police Officer Kyle Weiss was one of five officers who responded to a residence just a few blocks away from the original scene after receiving a tip. Officer (now Sergeant) Weiss was stationed in front of the house. As an entry team cleared a barricaded room, the gunman broke out a window and ran out of the house. Officer Weiss saw the gunman approaching and ordered him to stop and drop his weapon. Instead, he turned toward Weiss and raised his weapon to fire. To protect his own life and the safety of others, Officer Weiss fired two shots, fatally wounding the gunman.
- Jay Brad King and Jason D. Sederwall, Jefferson City Police Department – On Dec. 10, 2013, a Jeep involved in a two-car collision on Highway 94 burst into flames, trapping the driver. Her legs and hips pinned and her legs were burning. Officer King (now a deputy with the Washington County (Ore.) Sheriff’s Department) was first on the scene, encountering flames shooting 10 feet above the car. He and Officer Sederwall (Cedar-wall), second on the scene, attempted to put out the blaze with their fire extinguishers. With no fire personnel on scene, the officers concentrated on protecting the victim’s legs as their extinguishers ran dry. Unable to open either of the driver’s side doors due to damage, Officer King used his ASP baton to break out the windows to evacuate the smoke from the passenger compartment so the victim could breathe. Entering from the right rear door, Officer King, despite his 7-foot-1 and 320-pound frame, crawled into the back of the Jeep, alternating between attempting to extricate and comfort the victim. Officer Sederwall continued assisting while positioned at the rear passenger door until firefighters arrived, extinguished the blaze and cut the victim from the wreckage. She had suffered third-degree burns to almost half her body, fractured bones, a collapsed lung and pneumonia. Firefighters agreed that if not for the efforts of officers King and Sederwall, she would not have survived.