Regina B. Schofield, Assistant Attorney General
Office of Justice Programs
Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Reception
March 16, 2006
Good afternoon, and welcome to the Department of Justice. My name is Regina Schofield, and I'm the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. I'd like to thank all of you for joining us as we recognize five extraordinary public servants for their exceptional valor.
We are honored to have Attorney General Gonzales with us today. Judge Gonzales, we are so glad that you could be here.
I'd also like to welcome Congressman [Patrick] Tiberi. Thank you, Congressman, for joining us.
I'd also like to recognize Domingo Herraiz, the Director of our Bureau of Justice Assistance. BJA is the component of the Office of Justice Programs responsible for administering the Medal of Valor program.
I'd also like to acknowledge some special guests, five members of the Medal of Valor Review Board who are seated in front of the audience. They are:
- Chief David E. Demag of the Essex, Vermont Police Department,
- Chief William J. Nolan of the Cook County, Illinois Sheriff's Office and former president of the Fraternal Order of Police,
- Chief Richard B. Gasaway of the Roseville, Minnesota Fire Department,
- Chief Richard “Smokey” Dyer of the Kansas City Fire Department, and our newest member,
- Robert Creighton, retired Special-Agent-in-Charge from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Welcome, Bob.
Thanks to all of you for your service and for being with us today.
Earlier today, President Bush met with the recipients of this year's Public Safety Officers Medal of Valor. The private meeting in the Oval Office was an indication of the significance of the honor being conferred on these brave men.
The Medal of Valor is the highest commendation for bravery by a public safety officer, and it recognizes uncommon qualities in those who protect our communities. I had the honor of accompanying the recipients to the Oval Office, and we were privileged to be joined by the Attorney General.
Judge Gonzales has been a close and trusted advisor to President Bush for many years. Before being appointed and confirmed as the nation's 80th Attorney General, he served in the White House as the President's Counsel. He also served as General Counsel to then-Governor Bush in Texas, and was the Texas Secretary of State before being appointed to the state's Supreme Court.
Throughout his career, he has strongly supported the work of our nation's public safety officers, and he knows well the dangers they face each time they walk out their doors.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.
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Thank you, Judge Gonzales.
It is now my pleasure to present to you the recipients of the Public Safety Officers Medal of Valor for 2005. I'll ask that each recipient come forward as I call your name and read a description of your act of valor. After the last of the certificates is presented, I'll ask that all of you return to center stage for a group photo.
The first recipient is Officer Timothy Greene of the Rock Hill Police Department in South Carolina. Officer Greene displayed exceptional composure and presence of mind in apprehending a bank robber. During his pursuit of the suspect, he was shot at more than 20 times and suffered wounds to his face. In spite of the injuries and the heavy fire, he pursued the suspect until his fellow officers were able to overpower him. Officer Timothy Greene.
Our second recipient is Firefighter Edward F. Henry of the City of Charleston, South Carolina Fire Department. Showing little regard for his own safety and battling thick smoke and heavy flames, Firefighter Henry entered a burning house without the protection of a hose team and rescued a victim who certainly would have perished without him. Firefighter Edward F. Henry.
Our third recipient is Officer Bryan S. Hurst of the Columbus, Ohio Division of Police. Officer Hurst was on special duty at a bank when a masked gunman entered. He exchanged fire with the gunman and was mortally wounded. Despite the wound, he continued to hold the suspect under fire. Officer Hurst perished in the line of duty, but his persistence, quick action, and exceptional courage were responsible for protecting the many people at the bank that day. His wife, Marissa, and his daughter, Malia, are here to accept the award on his behalf.
Our fourth recipient is Officer Peter Alfred Koe of the Indianapolis Police Department. Officer Koe was seriously wounded by a gunman on a rampage. Yet, out of concern for other officers who had been shot, he continued to advance on the gunman until he was able to bring him down. And when medical responders arrived at the scene, he directed them to attend to his fellow officers first. Officer Peter Alfred Koe.
The fifth and final recipient of this year's Public Safety Officers Medal of Valor is Battalion Chief Gene F. Large, Jr. of the Walton Beach Fire Department in Florida . Battalion Chief Large executed a maneuver in rough waters to rescue five exhausted people caught in a rip current. At great risk to himself, he exhibited exceptional courage in saving these people who were only moments away from perishing. Battalion Chief Gene F. Large, Jr.
On behalf of the President and the Attorney General, I want to congratulate the recipients of the Public Safety Officers Medal of Valor for 2005 and to extend our deepest gratitude for their valiant service.