Feb. 20 (UPI) — President Donald Trump presented 12 first responders with the Public Safety Medal of Valor Award on Tuesday.
Trump presented the award, which is the highest honor local police, fire department, sheriff’s and rescue personnel can attain, as he thanked the “incredible group of heroes” for their service.
“The 12 patriots we honor come from many places and serve many different roles but they all share one thing in common,” Trump said. “When faced with danger they each put the lives of others before their own.”
Among the honorees were six public safety officers who responded to the 2015 San Bernadino massacre that killed 14 people and injured 22 others in California including Cpl. Rafael Ixco, Det. Bruce Southworth and Deputy Shaun Wallen of the San Bernadino Sheriff’s Department, Det. Brian Olvera of the Bernadino Police Department, District Attorney Investigator Chad Johnson and Redlands Police Department officer Nicholas Koahou.
“When terrorists attacked defenseless employees of the San Bernardino Department of Public Health, six of the heroes with us today chased them down and put an end to their sinister rampage which was going to get a lot worse,” Trump said.
Trump also honored Lt. William Buchanan and EMT Sean Ochsenbein who saved a passenger from a burning car in Tennessee as well as fire engineer Stephen Gunn, who saved an unconscious man from a house fire started by an arsonist in Arizona.
Other honorees included Harbor Patrol officer David Poirier Jr., who saved three people from drowning on a beach in California, police chief Douglas Schroeder who took action to save lives during a workplace shooting in Kansas and police officer Andrew Hopfensperger Jr. who stopped a shooter at a Wisconsin high school prom.
Trump presented each first responder with a medal and thanked them for their brave acts.
“To each of the 12 heroes who are about to receive the Medal of Valor, you have earned an eternal place in the gratitude, in our history, and in our hearts. Through your service and sacrifice, we are reminded that America’s greatest treasure is her people,” he said.
During the ceremony Trump also addressed the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. and announced he signed a directive to implement legislation banning the use of bump stocks.
“We will be working very, very hard on that horrible, horrible issue that took place last week in Florida. We’re working very hard,” he said. “We’re going to come up with solutions. It’s been many, many years and there have been no solutions.”