DOJ Press Release letterhead

Thursday, March 16, 2006
Office of Justice Programs
Contact: Joan LaRocca
Phone: (202) 307-0703
TTY: (202) 514-1888


    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today honored the nation's Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor recipients during a special ceremony at the Department of Justice. The Medal of Valor is the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer honoring heroic action performed above and beyond the call of duty. The Attorney General honored recipients from the nation's law enforcement, firefighting and emergency services.

"Today we honor the personal courage and selfless service demonstrated by these Medal of Valor recipients through their individual acts of heroism," said Attorney General Gonzales. "Their sense of duty, respect for others and willingness to subordinate their personal safety to fellow officers and citizens provide the clearest example of the values that make the United States and its public servants so great."

    The recipients of the 2004-2005 Medal of Valor are Timothy Greene, Rock Hill, SC ; Edward F. Henry, Charleston, SC ; Bryan S. Hurst (deceased), Columbus, OH ; Peter Alfred Koe, Indianapolis , IN.; Gene F. Large, Jr., Fort Walton Beach, FL. Earlier today, the President presented the Medals of Valor during a White House ceremony in the Oval Office. A description of their acts of valor is attached.

    The Medal of Valor, authorized by the Public Safety Medal of Valor Act of 2001, is awarded by the President of the United States to public safety officers cited by the Attorney General. Public safety officers are nominated by the chiefs or directors of their employing agencies and recommended by the Medal of Valor Review Board. Nominations for the 2005-2006 Medal of Valor will be accepted from May 31 - July 31, 2006.

    Additional information about the award, the design and image of the Medal of Valor, the board members, and the nomination form can be found on the Office of Justice Programs Web site at

    The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and an office: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy and OJP's American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information can be found at

Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor

Synopses of Acts of Valor

    On March 18, 2005, a citizen flagged down Officer Timothy Greene of the Rock Hill, SC Police Department to report a bank robbery. Upon his arrival at the bank, employees identified the fleeing suspect's vehicle, which Officer Greene stopped. The suspect, however, exited the vehicle and fired at least six rounds from a semi-automatic pistol at Greene, injuring him and shattering his patrol car windshield. Greene pursued the suspect, provided details of the event and gave directions to other responding officers in spite of suffering cuts and abrasions to his face and having been shot at least 20 times before the suspect was finally overpowered. Officer Greene maintained exceptional composure, presence of mind, and concern for the officers assisting him throughout the incident.

    On April 24, 2005, Firefighter Edward F. Henry of the city of Charleston , SC Fire Department responded to a house fire. Occupants fleeing the building told Henry that people were still inside. Henry entered the house without the protection of a hose team, and battling thick smoke and flames, made his way upstairs where he found a victim lying on the floor. Unable to use the stairs, he broke two windows and lifted the victim out to be rescued by ladder. He then took off his mask and gave it to the victim, who with help from other firefighters, climbed down the 35-foot ladder to safety. After ensuring the victim was safe, Henry checked his air supply and re-entered the house to continue his search for additional victims. Firefighter Henry showed little regard for his safety that day in his dedication to protect and save others.

    On January 6, 2005, Officer Bryan S. Hurst of the Columbus, OH Division of Police was working uniformed special duty at a bank when a masked gunman entered. Hurst and the gunman exchanged fire, which wounded the suspect in the arm and the hand. The gunman managed to lean over the teller's counter, which Hurst was using for cover, and shot him in the chest just above his body armor. In spite of receiving a mortal wound, Hurst maneuvered around the counter and fired at the suspect before he collapsed. Authorities apprehended the gunman several days later when he sought medical attention at a hospital in Washington, D.C. Officer Hurst's quick action, exceptional courage, and persistence protected the lives of the many people at the bank.

    On August 18, 2004, Officer Peter Alfred Koe of the Indianapolis, IN Police Department received information over the radio that several fellow officers had been shot -- one fatally -- by a rampaging gunman. Koe and other officers went immediately to the scene, where Koe was shot by a hidden gunman. He suffered a leg wound while glass and debris struck him in the face and body. Out of concern for the safety of the other wounded officers, Koe advanced on the gunman, exchanging gunfire at close range and effectively subduing him. Even after the event, Koe directed medical responders to attend to his fellow officers while minimizing his critical wounds. Officer Koe showed remarkable composure and control while protecting his fellow officers.

    On April 7, 2005, Battalion Chief Gene F. Large, Jr. of the Fort Walton Beach, FL Fire Department was dispatched to assist in an ocean surf rescue. Three firefighters and a sheriff's deputy were attempting to rescue a swimmer caught in a rip current among six- to-eight foot waves, which had pulled all five away from shore. Neither the Coast Guard nor the fire rescue craft were able to attempt a rescue in the high waves. Two of the rescuers were losing consciousness from cold and exhaustion. Large swam a rescue board -- a maneuver not usually attempted in such rough seas -- and instructed the five to lock arms while holding on to the board. Large was able to break the rip current's hold and maneuver the five safely to shore by coordinating their kicking to work with the waves. Large's quick thinking and exceptional courage, while exposing himself to great risk, saved five people whose lives were at grave risk.