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Two Local First Responders Receive Missouri Medal of Valor

Eight public safety officers will be awarded the Missouri Medal of Valor Thursday. Two of them are from the Ozarks. KSMU’s Melanie Foehrweiser has details.

According to a release from Governor Jay Nixon's office, the Missouri Medal of Valor is awarded to public safety officers for extraordinary acts of bravery in their efforts to save lives in Missouri. Springfield firefighter Jeffery Elliot is receiving the award for heroic efforts during a house fire last January. Randy Villines, Assistant Fire Chief with the Springfield Fire Department, says when crews arrived on the scene, fire was coming out of the house and smoke surrounded the scene. That’s when a woman in the front yard said what Villines describes as the worst thing a firefighter can hear: her children were still inside.

“Medics were on scene, police officers on scene, and rescue one arrived first and prepared to go in for a rescue. Jeffery Elliot, our rescue specialist that was on that unit that day was one of the crew members able to locate a child in a bedroom and rushed her out to the awaiting ambulance where she was given care.”

Joseph Heath, a medic with Mercy’s Ambulance Service in Springfield, is also receiving the Medal of Valor for his part in the rescue effort.

“The medic on scene, Joseph Heath, was the individual who was able to climb through a window and rescue this young lady’s sister and got her to care as well,” says Villines.

For KSMU News, I’m Melanie Foehrweiser