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DOJ Press Release letterhead

Thursday, July 14, 2005
Office of Justice Programs
Contact: Joan LaRocca
Phone: (202) 307-0703
TTY: (202) 514-1888


        WASHINGTON, D.C. - Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today honored the recipients of the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor during a ceremony at the White House. The recipients of the award represent fire, law enforcement and emergency medical service providers from across the United States. The Medal of Valor is the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer, honoring outstanding heroic deeds performed above and beyond the call of duty.

     "We are here today to honor Medal of Valor recipients who went above and beyond the call of duty -- putting their own lives at risk -- to earn this mark of heroism," said Attorney General Gonzales. "The commitment to service shown by these incredible public safety officers is indicative of the day-in and day-out dedication of police officers, sheriffs, emergency medical personnel, firefighters, and countless other first responders and public servants across our Nation."

     The recipients of the 2003-2004 Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor are: Rodney Lee Chambers, Washington, D.C.; Jennifer Fulford-Salvano, Orange County, Fla.; Andrew J. Phillips, Marietta, Ga.; and Thomas D. Richards, Lexington, Ky. In addition, a team of six from Kansas City, Mo., includes Phillip Atwood, David Bradley, Marvin Donaldson, Stephen Johnson, Patrick Martin, and Sean McKarnin. A description of the 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.

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

     The Office of Justice Programs 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 two offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education 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

Rodney Lee Chambers, Amtrak Police Department, Washington, D.C. On June 9, 2003, Officer Chambers was on patrol at Union Station when reports came in from dispatch regarding a man seen with a grenade. Officer Chambers located and stopped the man. Once stopped, the man pulled the pin on the grenade and attempted to drop it. Officer Chambers made a split- second decision and grabbed the grenade in the man’s hand and squeezed it, not allowing it to detonate. Officer Chambers then wrestled the grenade from the suspect’s control and moved away from bystanders and other public safety personnel. Officer Chambers held the grenade for 15-20 minutes waiting for the bomb disposal team to arrive. Bomb disposal officers arrived and took the device from Officer Chambers. The device was later determined to be inoperable, yet this was unknown to Chambers at the time of the incident.

Jennifer Fulford-Salvano, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Ocoee, Fla. On May 5, 2004, Deputy Fulford-Salvano responded to a burglary-in-progress call after an 8-year-old boy called to inform the police that “strange men” were in his home with weapons and that he and his sister were hiding inside a van in the garage. Deputy Fulford-Salvano, first on the scene, entered the garage to check on the child and his sister who were still hiding in the family van. As deputies took their positions, two men emerged from the house and fired upon the deputies. Deputy Fulford-Salvano became trapped in the garage between two vehicles and the assailants who were firing at her. Deputy Fulford-Salvano then returned fire. Although she was struck a total of ten times, including on her shooting hand, she was able to retrieve her weapon with her other hand and continue firing until both gunmen fell to the ground. The assailants were apprehended and the children were kept safe and unharmed throughout the incident.

Andrew J. Phillips, Marietta Police Department, Marietta, Ga. On March 11, 2004, while serving a warrant at a house to search for drugs, the team encountered four individuals. While securing the individuals, the team began taking fire from an unknown suspect. One agent was shot in the lower part of the body, and another was hit in his helmet. Agent Phillips witnessed the two agents going down and advanced through a blind hallway seeking the suspect and returning fire. Upon reaching the room where the suspect was hiding and armed with a rifle, Agent Phillips fired, causing the suspect to drop his weapon and surrender. Agent Phillips apprehended the suspect and protected his fellow agents from further harm. The wounded agent later recovered from his injuries.

Thomas D. Richards, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Division of Police, Lexington, Ky. On February 13, 2004, police, fire, and emergency services were dispatched to assist a woman with gunshot wounds to the head. The suspect, concealed inside the house, began to shoot at the team of public safety officers assembled. Six of the fire and emergency services team were pinned down by the suspect and two were shot, one fatally. Officer Richards noticed that the firefighters were unable to move to safe positions and drove his police cruiser directly into the line of fire in an attempt to shield the wounded firefighters from the assailant’s shots. The suspect fired again, shattering the cruiser’s window, narrowly missing Officer Richards. The suspect then stopped firing, but Officer Richards remained with the firefighters until they could be safely evacuated by a police extraction team.

Team Members: Kansas City Missouri Fire Department, Kansas City, Mo.
Fire Capt. Phillip Atwood
Fire Capt. Patrick Martin
Firefighter David Bradley
Firefighter Marvin Donaldson
Firefighter Stephen Johnson
Fire Apparatus Operator Sean McKarnin On February 23, 2004, firefighters were called to a residential fire that resulted from an explosion in south Kansas City. Arriving firefighters came under heavy and rapid gunfire shortly after arriving on the scene. A paramedic suffered injuries from the gunfire, but was pulled to safety by team members. The firefighters then remained pinned down by 20-30 minutes of automatic weapon fire before a second explosion destroyed the building and the gunfire ceased.