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President Trump to award Medal of Valor to first responders

The Medal of Valor is the nation’s highest award for public safety officers and recognizes extraordinary acts

By FireRescue1 Staff

WASHINGTON — Three fire and EMS first responders will be awarded the Medal of Valor by President Trump.

WhiteHouse.gov reported that 12 first responders are set to receive the nation’s highest honor for public safety officers, and three of them are members of fire departments and EMS agencies.

The recipients will be honored publicly with the Medal of Valor in the near future. We will update you when more information becomes available.

The fire and EMS recipients are listed below, along with their extraordinary act that went above the call of duty.



Engineer Stephen Gunn, Peoria (Ariz.) Fire-Medical Department

Engineer Stephen Gunn saved someone from a burning house after a home invasion. (Photo/Peoria Fire-Medical Department)

Stephen Gunn was called to a house fire that was caused by a home invasion and arson. Dispatchers told the crew there were people trapped inside.

ABC15 reported that Gunn headed into the burning house through a busted window. Officials said that his skin was burning, his clothing was turning black and his helmet was melting while inside.

“This whole experience has just been very humbling for me,” Gunn said. "If it was anyone of them that got off that truck first and were approached by those police officers, they would’ve done the same exact thing."

Firefighter/Harbor Patrol Officer David Poirier Jr., Redondo Beach (Calif.) Fire Department

David Poirier Jr. rescued three victims after they were swept into the ocean. (Photo/Redondo Beach Fire Department)

David Poirier Jr. saved the lives of three people after they were swept off a breakwater.

Daily Breeze reported that four victims were fishing when they were swept into the ocean. Poirier swam out to them, two of whom were holding their son who was unconscious from a head wound, when another wave hit.

Poirier said he grabbed one dead victim and tried to get the rest of the victims back onto the rocks as they clung to him, pulling him under.

Rescue crews soon pulled Poirier and the victims from the water.

EMT Sean Ochsenbein, Putnam County (Tenn.) Rescue Squad

Sean Ochsenbein helped a police officer pull a man from a burning car. (Photo/YouTube)

Sean Ochsenbein, a Putnam County EMT, helped pull a man from a burning vehicle when he happened to drive by the scene of a fatal head-on collision.

WJHL.com reported that Ochsenbein was driving back from a ski trip with his fiancée when they spotted a crash and stopped to help.

"When I got out of the car, I saw there was fire dripping from the bottom of the vehicles from oil and having prior experience in EMS, I knew that we didn’t have a lot of time," Ochsenbein said.

Ochsenbein remembered he had a towing strap in his car and he and Lt. William Buchanan, an officer who also drove by the scene, were able to use the strap to pull the door open and pull the victim out of the vehicle.

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