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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
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Page updated May 6, 2015 1:59 PM

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2015 Valor Awards

On April 30, 2015, the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce honored various public safety employees with Valor Awards for their heroic and life-saving actions. Members of the Police, Fire and Sheriff attended a luncheon where they received medals, certificates and accolades for their response during life or death situations. Learn more about our local heroes and the critical incidents they encountered.

Gold Medal
The highest award for valor and heroism. Awarded in cases in which a public safety official knowingly places themselves at risk of death or extreme serious bodily harm in the performance of an official act.

Silver Medal
The second highest award for valor and heroism. Awarded in situations where a public safety official exposes himself/herself to great personal risk in the performance of an official act.

Bronze Medal
Awarded in situations where, during the course of an emergency and at personal risk, a public safety official demonstrates judgment and ingenuity in the performance of his/her duties.

Lifesaving Award
To be awarded in recognition of official acts taken by public safety officials in a life-threatening situation where an individual's life is in jeopardy, either medically or physically.

Certificate of Valor
For recognition as a public safety official, for action taken involving personal risk and/or demonstration of judgment in the performance of duty.

Sergeant Chris O'Dell: Life Saving Award

On August 5, a deputy at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center was having a conversation with an inmate. The inmate confided that he was having mental issues. The deputy immediately alerted a supervisor. Sergeant Chris O'Dell was the sergeant on duty that night. He checked the inmate's records and discovered that he had previously made threats of harm against himself which had resulted in a mental health evaluation. Read More...

Assistant Fire Marshall Andrea Buchanan, Bronze Medal

On March 15, Assistant Fire Marshall Andrea Buchanan was on routine evening patrol. She observed a large number of vehicles illegally parked in fire lanes at the Hilton at Mark Center. Assistant Fire Marshall Buchanan parked her vehicle and entered the hotel in the order to determine why the vehicles were parked in the fire lanes. Upon investigation, she discovered there was a very large crowd attending a special event downstairs in the main ballroom. The event was overcrowded, having greatly exceeded the maximum permitted occupancy of the area. This posed a danger for not only the patrons attending the event but also the guests of the hotel as it created a potential evacuation hazard in the event of an emergency. Read More...

Firefighters Michael Faber & Daryoush Hematti, Certificate of Valor

On April 8, firefighters and medics were dispatched for the report of an unconscious adult person. Engine 209 and EMS232 were the first units to arrive on the scene. They found an adult male lying face down on the living room floor and moaning. As the EMS team attempted to talk him, the patient started moaning louder and he began rocking. Suddenly, the patient started screaming and began to get up on his hands and knees. The mother of the patient was on scene and informed the firefighters and medics that her son had been doing PCP prior to arrival. She also stated that the patient had an infant daughter in the bedroom. Read More...

Firefighters Michael Ambrose, Joseph Porcelli, & Michael Lyons, Life Saving Award

On April 23, around 7:30 a.m., members of Engine 207, including Firefighters Michael Ambrose, Joseph Porcelli, and Michael Lyons responded to a call at MacArthur Elementary School for reports of an child passed out in the cafeteria. Just before the firefighters arrived on scene new information came in stating, "possible pediatric cardiac arrest with CPR in progress." With this new development, Firefighters Ambrose, Porcelli and Lyons used the few moments before they arrived at the school to coordinate their emergency medical response. Read More...

Officer Michael Nugent, Gold Medal

On February 28, at 9:45 a.m., a call came in for a suicidal subject threatening to jump off the bridge at the Interstate 495 overpass on South Patrick Street. Due to extremely cold temperatures, the roadways and sidewalks were extremely icy. Officer Nugent was near the area and immediately responded. Upon arrival, he spotted a woman standing on top of a jersey wall. On the other side of the wall was a 75 foot drop down to I-495 and Cameron Run. He saw another woman, Ms. Mamie Doyle, attempting to communicate with her. Officer Nugent jumped out of his cruiser. The woman began to make a step motion as if she was going to walk off the wall. He began shouting at her to stop and talk to him. The woman did not listen. She leaned forward and fell from the jersey wall. Read More...

Officer Daniel Canniff, Certificate of Valor

On April 12, at 11:56 a.m., Officer Daniel Canniff was dispatched to the 200 block of South Van Dorn Street to assist Medics with a disoriented, medicated female who was attempting to leave the residence. It was reported that the victim's father was holding her down to prevent her from leaving. Officer Canniff was the first officer to arrive at the scene. The Fire Department was already on scene and were staging to await the officers. Officer Canniff cautiously entered the front door of the building and immediately was overwhelmed by a very strong chemical smell emanating from a nearby apartment. Read More...

Officer Erik Nygren, Bronze Medal
Officer Ryan Waple, Certificate of Valor
Officer Carlos Rolon, Silver Medal
Officer Steven Escobar, Silver Medal

On June 16, at 6:08 p.m., Officer Erik Nygren responded to the 400 block of Hansen Lane for reports of a suspicious package. The property where the package was located is a single-family home surrounded by large trees and lots of vegetation. Officer Nygren quickly located the reported package and began to review its contents with the intention of identifying its owner. Alarmingly, the contents of the backpack composed of a firearm, gas mask, explosive material, handcuffs, fireworks, and an abundance of ammunition. Even more alarmingly, Officer Nygren located a piece to a ghillie suit, a garment designed to camouflage a person in their natural environment. Read More...

Sergeant Nick Ruggiero, Life Saving Certificate
Officer William Rutz, Life Saving Certificate
Officer Matthew O'Malley, Life Saving Certificate

On August 13, Officer Rutz, Officer O'Malley, and Sergeant Nick Ruggiero were in the Arlandria area conducting a surveillance operation. They heard a call for service for a vehicle crash, a pedestrian had been struck in the 3900 block of Old Dominion Blvd. The officers and sergeant immediately headed responded and were the first to arrive at the scene. They immediately located a female victim lying on the ground with the front of the building pinning her. Read More...