President Biden is honoring nine public safety officers receiving the Medal of Valor in recognition of extraordinary acts of heroism and bravery, including officers who died in the line of duty.
On Wednesday, the president is honoring 2021-2022 recipients of the award, including five police officers, one sheriff’s deputy and three firefighters. Congress created the medal in 2001, intending the award to go to public safety officers who exhibit exceptional courage and swiftness of action and assume personal risk in an attempt to save or protect human life.
“All of you who have lost someone know that no matter how much you take pride in the recognition of what they did when they were lost, it still brings back everything like it happened that moment,” Mr. Biden said, telling the families of the fallen officers that it took courage to be there.
After the ceremony, Mr. Biden is leaving for Japan on a trip he’s cutting short to return to the U.S. to work on the debt ceiling crisis. The U.S. may be unable to pay its bills and could default on its debt as soon as June 1 if Congress doesn’t pass and the president doesn’t sign legislation to raise the debt ceiling by then, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned.
The president took time to tell the stories of heroism of the recipients.
These are the officers the president is honoring Wednesday, according to the White House:
Fallen Detective Wilbert Mora, Fallen Detective Jason Rivera, and Detective Sumit Sulan of the New York Police Department, who sought to protect a mother and son from an armed man threatening violence, placing themselves between the assailant and occupants of the home. They were ambushed and died from their injuries.
Corporal Jeffrey Farmer of the Littleton, Colorado Police Department, who saved the life of a fellow officer who had been wounded. He suffered injuries during the incident.
Lieutenant Justin Hespeler of the New York City Fire Department, who rushed into a burning house to rescue a newborn baby.
Lieutenant Jason Hickey of the New York City Fire Department (Retired), who rescued a man from the Harlem River.
Deputy Bobby Hau Pham of the Clermont County, Ohio Sheriff’s Office, who saved a drowning woman who had driven her car into a lake.
Sergeant Kendrick Simpo of the Houston, Texas, Police Department, who confronted an armed man in a shopping mall.
Firefighter Patrick Thornton of the New York City Fire Department, who dove to save a man trapped beneath a capsized boat.