Noble lifesavers honored at state awards ceremony

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Among the attendees at the 2019 Sullivan Brothers’ Award of Valor and Governor’s Lifesaving Awards ceremony DEc. 10 were, from left, Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lifesaving Award winner Lee Gard of Grimes, Lifesaving Award winner MariClare Thinnes-Culver of West Des Moines, Outstanding Service Award winner Sarah Thomas of Des Moines, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens and Iowa State Patrol Col. Nathan Fulk. Photo courtesy Iowa DPS

DES MOINES, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens and Iowa State Patrol Col. Nathan Fulk honored heroic citizens and First Responders at the 2019 Sullivan Brothers’ Award of Valor and Governor’s Lifesaving Awards ceremony held Dec. 10 in the Iowa Capitol Rotunda.

Twenty individuals from communities across the state were recognized for their courageous responses in the last year. This was the first year the two awards programs were combined into one event, featuring the Iowa State Patrol Honor Guard and the National Anthem performed by Simon Estes.

“Today, we are proud to honor civilian and First Responder heroes who are outstanding people that we, as a state, can all be proud of,” said Reynolds. “They strengthen our communities and show us what true heroism is. They remind us that heroes don’t always wear capes or sports uniforms. They don’t seek the spotlight — they’ve just chosen to do the right thing at the right time, and we’re grateful for their actions.”

Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens equaled Reynolds’ eloquent gratitude.

“These Iowans intentionally and selflessly provided aid and assistance in times of need,” Bayens said. “It’s an honor to celebrate those who placed the needs of others above their own and answered the call to serve.”

The Governor’s Lifesaving Awards Program recognizes recipients in four different categories:

  1. Lifesaving with Valor, which is awarded to those individuals who at the risk of their own life, attempted to save that of another.
  2. Lifesaving, which is awarded to those individuals who have attempted to save the life of another individual, but did not put their own life in jeopardy.
  3. Meritorious, which is awarded to those individuals in recognition of courageous and unselfish service rendered during a time of distress.
  4. Outstanding Service, which is presented to persons who have performed a courageous act in an attempt to save an individual who was in danger of losing his or her life or to individuals who unselfishly rendered service in a time of emergency.

The Governor’s Lifesaving Awards honored 13 civilians:

• Kenyon Murray – Outstanding Service Award, Cedar Rapids
• Matthew Van Baale – Outstanding Award, Harlan
• Sarah “Sally” Dunshee – Lifesaving Award, Ankeny
• Lee Gard – Lifesaving Award, Grimes
• MariClare Thinnes-Culver – Lifesaving Award, West Des Moines
• Sarah Thomas – Outstanding Service Award, Des Moines
• Nicholas Jaschen – Lifesaving Award, Sumner
• Luke Preussner – Lifesaving Award, Manchester
• Daniel Roby – Lifesaving Award, Des Moines
• Nathan Thayer – Lifesaving Award, Prole
• Mehl Wright – Lifesaving Award, Keokuk
• Ryan Cripe – Lifesaving with Valor, Fort Dodge
• Gregory “Gus” Loehr – Lifesaving with Valor, Callendar

The Sullivan Brothers’ Award of Valor recognized seven First Responders from two volunteer fire departments:

• Firefighter – Joshua Myers, Sigourney Fire and Rescue
• Firefighter – Joseph White, Sigourney Fire and Rescue
• Firefighter – Zachery Steinhart, Sigourney Fire and Rescue

• Captain Rich Damm, Ottumwa Fire Department
• Firefighter Gary Doud, Ottumwa Fire Department
• Firefighter Andrew Ewing, Ottumwa Fire Department
• Firefighter Will Munley, Ottumwa Fire Department

The Iowa Department of Public Safety is the largest law enforcement agency in the state. It includes six divisions: Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa State Fire Marshal Division, Iowa Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center and Administrative Services Division.

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