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Officer, firefighters to be honored

Published 11:35pm Thursday, April 18, 2013

Seven Suffolk public safety employees will be honored at a Valor Awards breakfast Friday morning sponsored by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.

The inaugural Valor Awards event will honor Suffolk Police Officer James Winslow and seven Suffolk Fire and Rescue employees — Capt. William Kessinger, Firefighter/Medic Colt Pulley, Firefighter/Medic Terry Davenport, Lt. Taz Lancaster, Firefighter Chris Asbell and Firefighter David Dickens.

Winslow will receive the Gold Medal of Valor and the Ultimate Sacrifice Award. Winslow protected his firearm while being attacked during a foot chase of a criminal on May 19, suffering worse injuries because he used two hands to maintain control of the gun and was unable to defend his body against the blows.

His bravery likely saved other officers from being hurt or killed during the ensuing manhunt, Suffolk Police Chief Thomas Bennett has said.

“Officer Winslow is very deserving of both of these awards,” Bennett wrote in an email Thursday. “Throughout this incident and during his recovery, he has demonstrated his courage, intelligence and commitment to our profession. He is a fine example of what all officers should strive to become.”

The six firefighters are being honored for rescuing a 69-year-old woman from a fire in her sister’s home on Mallard Drive on Dec. 1.

Engine 6 and Ladder 6 were called to the blaze that morning and found heavy smoke and flames coming from the home.

“The crews immediately advanced a hose line into the residence to control the fire, while at the same time starting a search for the occupant,” city spokeswoman Diana Klink wrote in an email Thursday. “The occupant was located and removed and was turned over to the ambulance crew for treatment.”

One firefighter suffered second-degree burns to his ears during the rescue. Several had to have personal protective equipment replaced because of the high heat they encountered in the home.

The woman later died in the hospital.

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