The Police Medal of Honor, awarded for heroism “above and beyond the call of duty,” was presented Wednesday to four Fort Worth officers who were shot or inhaled smoke while trying to shield others from danger.
They were among more than 100 officers and a few civilians honored during the Police Exceptional Acts Awards ceremony at the Fire and Police Training Academy.
The awards covered 2011-2013.
Here are stories behind some of the awards.
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the department’s highest award for officers’ heroism “at imminent risk of death or serious bodily injury,” police officials said.
Such was the case on April 24, 2013, when officer Marty Stone pursued a man suspected of robbing a fast food restaurant on Brentwood Stair Road, according to information provided by police.
Stone, wounded in the thigh, returned fire, killing the gunman. He lost a lot of blood but managed to retrieve a trauma kit and, with help from officer Rene Hernandez, stabilized his wound until an ambulance could arrive.
On Jan. 29, 2013, officer John Bell was shot three times by a wanted man who had been hiding in a vehicle at a Haltom City auto shop. Bell shot back, fatally wounding the man. Bell was also awarded a Life Saving Award for protecting the shop owner.
And from the same episode, Fort Worth police honored Haltom City police Lt. Terry Stayer who grabbed a trauma kit to give first aid to Bell. She was given the Certificate of Merit.
On Sept. 20, 2011, Officers Carson Bell and Lyndsey Stewart entered a burning house on Arbor Avenue and rescued a 67-year-old woman. Both officers were treated for smoke inhalation.
Medal of Valor
The Medal of Valor, the department’s second-highest award, is given for “exceptional bravery performed at imminent risk of death or serious bodily injury.”
Honorees included officers J. Alex, N. Oglesby and K. Hankerson who, on Christmas Day 2011, responded to a call about a man shooting a gun and threatening to kill people on Altamesa Boulevard. The man fired at the officers, hitting Hankerson’s patrol car three times. Oglesby and Alex exchanged shots with the man, killing him.
On June 23, officer Thomas Bamrick responded to a report of a man threatening to throw a woman off a balcony on Bridge Hill Drive. Bamrick and other officers burst into the apartment where they found the man stabbing the woman with a large kitchen knife. When the man refused to stop, Bamrick shot him, then worked with other officers to provide first aid to the badly wounded woman. He also received a Life Saving Award for his actions.
On Aug. 8, 2011, officer Jerry Dalton and Cpl. Steve Fineman saw a vehicle with two flat tires stopped on southbound Interstate 35W. The vehicle had caught fire. The officers pulled the woman driver to safety after she briefly struggled with them. The woman appeared to be drunk. Seconds later, the car’s interior filled with flames.
On June 26, 2012, officer Kyle Davis, while responding to a shooting call at a hotel on South Beach Street, arrived to find an armed man pointing a pistol at a police sergeant. Davis confronted the gunman who fired at Davis, but the officer returned fire, striking the suspect, who later died.
Chief’s Letter of Recognition
Officers don’t always reach for their guns to help someone in need. On Sept. 1, 2013, officer Billy Brumley reached for his wallet.
He was dispatched to a coffee shop on Bryant Irvin Road to help an 86-year-old woman who had been traveling alone from Olney to Longview but had car trouble.
“She had been riding around in a taxi all day trying to get help, and the taxi driver had taken advantage of her and charged her over $100,” police said in their presentation. “Officer Brumley exhausted all avenues and, unable to come up with any other solution, took it upon himself to put her up in a hotel for the night.”
The next morning, with supervisor approval, Brumley took her to breakfast and then bought her a bus ticket to Longview. Later, he found her car, which has a flat tire in a parking lot on West Seminary Drive. He paid for the repair and put the car in a safe place until it could be returned to the woman.
Civilian Ryan Sallee received the Fort Worth Police Appreciation Award for coming to the aid of a neighbor in January. The neighbor was being assaulted with a hammer by an ex-boyfriend. Sallee struck the ex-boyfriend with baseball bat, but the man attacked him, too.
Several other neighbors also heard the victim’s cries for help, but “Mr. Sallee was the only one who initially came to her aid and his actions probably saved the victim’s life,” police said in the presentation. “He threw himself into harm’s way in order to help a stranger in distress with no regard for his own personal safety.”
Police officials said they will try to make note of all the civilian nominees on the department’s social media pages.