Public safety professionals win valor awardsPublished 9:32pm Friday, April 19, 2013
Twenty-five public safety professionals from South Hampton Roads — including seven from Suffolk — were honored during a Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce event at the Virginia Beach Convention Center Friday morning for going above and beyond in the performance of their duties.
Suffolk Police Officer James Winslow received the Gold Medal of Valor and Ultimate Sacrifice Award. Winslow suffered a brutal attack May 19 during a foot chase after pulling over a man driving a stolen vehicle. The first blow blinded him, but Winslow fell to the ground to protect his service weapon, preventing the suspect from obtaining a firearm. Because he used both hands to maintain control of his firearm, he was unable to protect his head and face from the suspect. He suffered numerous fractures to his skull and face, as well as dislocated shoulder and other injuries.
Also honored with Lifesaving Awards were Suffolk Fire and Rescue’s Capt. William Kessinger, Firefighter/Medic Colt Pulley, Firefighter/Medic Terry Davenport, Lt. Taz Lancaster, Firefighter Chris Asbell and Firefighter David Dickens. The two units responded to a house fire on Mallard Drive on Dec. 1 and, despite heavy smoke and flames, entered the home to search for the occupant. The 69-year-old woman was located and removed from the home, but in spite of the firefighters’ bravery, she later died in the hospital.
Mayor Linda T. Johnson and City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn attended the event.
“We go about our daily lives knowing we’re safe because of all the things they do,” Johnson said.
Delegate S. Chris Jones, Winslow’s uncle, said he is “very proud” of his nephew. He also has known some of the honored firefighters for many years and added he is proud of them as well.
Nominations came from public safety administrators throughout South Hampton Roads, according to Chamber officials. The nominees represented 24 incidents and were nominated in five categories — the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal of Valor, the Lifesaving Award and the Ultimate Sacrifice Award, which can be awarded when a public safety professional has been critically injured or killed.
The award winners were chosen by a committee made up of public safety administrators and business leaders.