President Biden on Wednesday awarded the Medal of Valor to nine Americans, granting them the highest honor for public safety officers.
“There’s no greater responsibility of government than to ensure the safety of the American people and those who serve and protect us all. We’re incredibly proud of all of you,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “And, we’re going to have your back as long as we need to, as long as you’re engaged.”
“Seeing your courage gives me so much hope for this country,” Biden added, ahead of giving out the medals.
Two New York Police Department detectives, Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera, were honored posthumously. They died protecting a mother and son from an armed man in their home. Detective Sumit Sulan, who saved civilians during the incident and took down the gunman, was also honored.
“They are the who and the what of law enforcement in this country should be,” Biden said on Wednesday, noting that Rivera died at 22 and is one of the youngest fallen officers ever.
The other honorees included corporal Jeffrey Farmer of the Littleton, Colo., Police Department, who saved the life of a fellow officer who was wounded; Lt. Justin Hespeler of the New York City Fire Department, who rushed into a burning house and rescued a newborn baby; and retired Lt. Jason Hickey of the New York City Fire Department, who rescued a man from the Harlem River.
Additionally, the honorees included deputy Bobby Hau Pham of the Clermont County, Ohio Sheriff’s Office, who saved a drowning woman who had driven her car into a lake; sergeant Kendrick Simpo of the Houston, Texas Police Department, who confronted a man carrying an assault-style rifle in a shopping mall; and firefighter Patrick Thornton of the New York City Fire Department, who saved a man trapped beneath a capsized boat.
Biden awarded the medals in a ceremony on Wednesday morning, ahead of when he is set to leave for his trip to Japan for the Group of Seven summit.
Medal of Valor
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