Chamber Honors Local Heroes at Second Annual Valor Awards

Chamber Honors Local Heroes at Second Annual Valor Awards
More than 40 police officers, firefighters and first responders received awards from the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and TowneBank as a part of the second annual Valor Awards at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott on Friday, April 25. The ceremony provided the business community with the opportunity to thank and recognize public safety heroes who risked their lives every day to keep our community safe.

(from left) Portsmouth Police Chief Edward Hargis; Silver Medal of Valor recipient Portsmouth Police Officer Raymond Anderson; Portsmouth Mayor Kenneth Wright; Dr. Scott Miller, Sentara Leigh Hospital, and Medal of Valor Sponsor; Silver Medal of Valor recipient Portsmouth Police Officer Brad Dotson; and Chamber President & CEO Bryan K. StephensMore than 40 police officers, firefighters and first responders received awards from the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and TowneBank as a part of the second annual Valor Awards at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott on Friday, April 25.

The ceremony provided the business community with the opportunity to thank and recognize public safety heroes who risked their lives every day to keep our community safe.

Medals of Valor were presented for extraordinary acts of courage and resourcefulness in the line of duty. Vanessa Coria, Anchor/Reporter ABC13, served as the mistress of ceremonies and shared several stories of unbelievable bravery, dedication to service and love of community.

John Matson, President, TowneBank Norfolk and Presenting sponsor of the Valor Awards, shared a personal anecdote on the value and inspiration that first responders mean to the citizenry. In the aftermath of a TowneBank robbery, police officers were more than just first on the scene, but were caring and compassionate, even going back several days later to check on the staff. “It is these everyday acts of kindness that they don’t usually receive.” said Matson.  

Portsmouth Mayor Kenneth Wright presents the Gold Medal of Valor Award to Officer Kenneth White.  Medal of Valor Sponsor Dr. Scott Miller of Sentara Leigh Hospital and Chamber President & CEO Bryan K. Stephens applaudOfficer Kenneth White, Portsmouth Police Department, received the event’s highest honor, the Gold Medal of Valor. White was with his wife at a Chartway Federal Credit Union in Virginia Beach off duty when he encountered an armed and agitated bank robber who threatened the lives of numerous bank employers and customers. He demonstrated extreme courage and calm in the face of serious danger and took care of the situation. Kenneth White was at the ceremony and received a standing ovation. White said, “I am humble, just glad to be here. I am so thankful for my wife. She was there by my side and gave me the courage I needed.”  

“These officers, go to work for the intrinsic value,” said a proud Virginia Beach Police Department Chief Jim Cervera, who has been a stalwart of the Valor Awards since its inception last year. Cervera added, “and when they are rewarded, it enforces that value.”

Such events mirror the goals of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, to include selfless service which the first responders embody every day. The Chamber is committed to shining a light on those among our community who work to improve the quality of life for the entire region.

Chamber President & CEO Bryan K. Stephens presents the Silver Medal of Valor to Investigator Randall Gillespie of the Norfolk Police Department as Norfolk Vice Mayor Angela Williams applaudsSylvia Haines, Executive Vice President, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce said, “We have a duty to pay tribute to them and respect their service and to give some small piece back to them. Just as they have their duty to protect and defend the community each and every day, we have a duty and responsibility to ensure that we pay tribute to that service. Hampton Roads would not be the community that it is, without these brave men and women,” “We look forward to continuing the tradition as well as other ways to support our community.”

It was a sentiment shared by Platinum Sponsor JES Foundation Repair President Stella Waltz, “It’s fantastic to know that we have systems in place that we can call upon you, and it’s incredible since you are able to rise in a moment’s notice and deliver acts that are inspiring to us all.”

She went on to discuss that it may seem that there are many thankless days in their work, but the work does not go unrecognized. As she did at last year’s inaugural Valor Awards, Waltz shared a quote from Philosopher William James, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

Awards were presented to the following:

Medal of Valor Awards:

Gold Medal of Valor

Officer Kenneth White
Portsmouth Police Department

 

Silver Medal of Valor

Officer Raymond Anderson & Officer Brad Dotson
Portsmouth Police Department

 

Silver Medal of Valor
Investigator Randall W. Gillespie
Norfolk Police Department

 

Bronze Medal of Valor

Officer Neal Robertson
Norfolk Police Department

 

Bronze Medal of Valor

Officer Robert C. Aaron, Officer Curtis L. Allison & Officer Christopher B. Baughman
Norfolk Police Department

 

Bronze Medal of Valor

Master Police Officer Christopher Foxwell, Officer Douglas Peyer & Master Police Officer David Shoenbach, Virginia Beach Police Department

 

Investigative Merit Award

Investigator Mike Mezo
Norfolk Police Department

 

Investigative Merit Award

Investigator Victor Powell
Norfolk Police Department

 

Investigative Merit Award

Police Officer Specialist/Detective Lori Johnson
Chesapeake Police Department

 

Lifesaving Awards:

Officer Mikhail E. Angstrom, Norfolk Police Department

Firefighter/EMT John Capewell, Chesapeake Fire Department

Firefighter/EMT Constance Cyphers, Chesapeake Fire Department

Officer Marc Drouillard, Suffolk Police Department

Officer David K. Dufault , Norfolk Police Department

Sergeant Ronald Godwin, Norfolk Police Department

Officer Richard J. Hryniewich, Norfolk Police Department

Master Police Officer Melissa Johnston, Virginia Beach Police Department

Officer Ignacio A. Keeling, Norfolk Police Department

Firefighter/EMT Benjamin Kimball, Chesapeake Fire Department

Police Officer Nathaniel Lake, Chesapeake Police Department

Officer David W. Lefleur, Norfolk Police Department

Officer Sean Lewis, Portsmouth Police Department

Firefighter/EMT Marvin Loritts, Chesapeake Fire Department

Sergeant Jeffrey Lowe, Chesapeake Police Department

Lieutenant Brian McIntosh, Chesapeake Fire Department

Officer Zachary McNett, Portsmouth Police Department

Officer Michael Noha, Chesapeake Police Department

Firefighter Paramedic Susan Roach, Chesapeake Fire Department

Officer Lance Roberson, Norfolk Police Department

Officer James O. Sims, Norfolk Police Department

Officer Mark Slocum, Chesapeake Police Department

Master Police Officer S.T. Spivey, Virginia Beach Police Department

Officer Shane Sukowaski, Suffolk Police Department

Sergeant Diana Tharp, Chesapeake Police Department

Master Police Officer/Detective Michael Toothman, Chesapeake Police Department

Officer Gary D. Winnie Jr., Norfolk Police Department

Master Police Officer Doug Zebley, Virginia Beach Police Department

(from left) Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera; Virginia Beach Councilman Bob Dyer; Chamber President & CEO Bryan K. Stephens and scholarship recipient Virginia Beach Lieutenant W. Scott HumphreyDuring the inaugural event last year, the Chamber established a scholarship for a deserving public safety employee who is committed to pursuing advanced training at an accredited institution. Lieutenant Scott Humphrey was presented with the scholarship check in the amount of $1,000. Humphrey has been a member of the Virginia Beach Police Department for 19 years and serves as the commander of his unit. He has attended the third session of West Point Leadership, the Gettysburg Leadership Experience and the City’s Mid-Manager Development course. He is currently enrolled at Liberty University and is obtaining a Master’s of Science in Criminal justice, with a Public Administration Cognate.

Thank you to the selection committee: Ed Ryan, Assistant Chief of Police. Norfolk Police Department; Major Steve Patterson, Suffolk Police Department; Kristin Vischer, Director of Public Relations, T2 Training FX; Lieutenant Scott Agee, Portsmouth Police Department; Division Chief William Hibner, Jr., Chesapeake Fire Department; North Division District Chief David Hutcheson, Virginia Beach Fire Department; and Candace Donnell, R7 SIU Manager, Geico.

Thank you to event sponsors: Towne Bank (Presenting Sponsor); JES Foundation Repair (Platinum Sponsor) ABC13 (Media Sponsor); Norfolk Waterside Marriott (Gold Sponsor); Sentara (Medal of Valor Sponsor); Dale Carnegie Training of Eastern Virginia-Wade Powell & Associates, Geico and T2 Training-Trauma Training FX, Inc. (Silver Sponsors).

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