President Joe Biden gives the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor to Sabrail Davenport who is receiving it on behalf of her son, fallen Spring Valley Firefighter Jared Lloyd during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on May 16, 2022. According to The White House, the medal is awarded to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect others. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
May 16 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden has awarded Medals of Valor to 15 public safety officers, including two officers who died in the line of duty, for extraordinary acts of bravery.
In a White House ceremony Monday, Biden honored the nine police officers and six firefighters.
"Today is an important day for the nation to give thanks for all that you do for everybody, for all of us," Biden said. "You are the heart and soul and the very spine of this country and your communities."
Monday's Medals of Valor ceremony honored two classes of officers, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancelation of the 2020 and 2021 awards ceremonies.
Each officer was awarded for a single act of extraordinary heroism to protect others from harm.
"You plunged into icy lake waters. You dove into choppy oceans to save people who were drowning. You faced a hail of gunfire to save your colleagues. You climbed a burning building to save a baby and more than 100 senior citizens. You drew fire to yourself to save a hostage. And you did all of this without concern for your safety, thinking only of somebody else," Biden said.
Among the recipients was 2nd Lt. Jared Lloyd of the Spring Valley, N.Y., Fire Department, who repeatedly rushed into a burning nursing home to carry out elderly residents. Lloyd rescued all 112 residents, but died when the building collapsed as he checked to make sure everyone was out.
Officer Jason Shuping of the Concord, N.C., Police Department died after drawing gunfire to himself and other officers to save a woman held hostage in a busy retail area. Officers Kyle Baker, Paul Stackenwalt and Kaleb Robinson, who survived the attack, also were honored.
President Biden ended the ceremony by presenting a Medal of Valor to each officer and both families of those who lost their lives.
"Each one of you from small town departments to big cities, you are cut from the same cloth. You possess a selflessness that is really hard to explain; a rare commitment to your neighbors and fellow Americans; an unusual bravery that inspires everyone."
Medals also were awarded to:
- Assistant Chief Ryan Sprunger of the East Wayne, Ohio, Fire District who rescued individuals who fell into a frozen pond.
- Officers Ryan Smith, Vincent Mendoza and Robert Paul III of the California Highway Patrol who protected one another during a gunfight.
- Firefighter Abraham Miller of the New York City Fire Department, who rappelled down the roof of a burning building to rescue a girl.
- Deputy Sheriff Dalton Rushing of the Perry County, Ohio, Sheriff's Office, who plunged into a frozen lake to rescue a person who had fallen through the ice.
- Firefighters John Colandro, Michael Rosero and Chad Titus of the Stamford, Conn., Fire Department, who dove into freezing water during a blizzard to rescue two people trapped in a sinking truck.
- Officer Anthony Giorgio of the Pensacola, Fla., Police Department, who rushed into a rip current to rescue several swimmers in distress.