Sheriff's Deputies Recognized with Awards of Valor

March 5, 2010

Five Fairfax Sheriff's Deputies were among those recognized on Thursday, March 4 at the 32nd Annual Chamber of Commerce Valor Awards ceremony held at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner.

Sheriff Stan Barry congratulates Sgt. Shannon Willey for his Silver Medal of Valor.Sergeant Shannon Willey received the Silver Medal of Valor and PFC Jesse Hernandez and PFC Frederick Cameron received the Bronze Medal of Valor for their efforts on April 1, 2009. On his way to work, Willey was traveling on I-66 crossing into Fairfax County when a major crash involving multiple vehicles and a tractor trailer unfolded a few car lengths in front of him. Wreckage was strewn across all four lanes of the interstate. One of the vehicles was crushed by the tractor trailer and became engulfed in flames. Willey rescued a woman from the burning vehicle. With the assistance of Hernandez and Cameron, all three deputies battled the vehicle fire, moved the all crash victims to a safe area away from the fire and provided traffic control at the scene. No lives were claimed in the incident, and most victims escaped with minor injuries. Without the heroic actions of these three Sheriff's deputies, that may not have been the outcome. They placed themselves in harm's way to save the lives of the people they serve.

2nd Lieutenant Charles Formeck received the Bronze Medal of Valor. On August 2, 2009, while off-duty, Formeck came to the aid of two innocent patrons who were being assaulted by an intoxicated individual. One of the patrons was rendered unconscious during the assault. Formeck's courageous and immediate actions, without regard for his own safety, prevented further injuries and may have saved the lives of these two men.

2nd Lieutenant William Cooper received the Certificate of Valor. On March 30, 2009, Cooper was working out at a local Gold's Gym on his day off when he noticed that a man in his mid 50's had collapsed on a treadmill. Cooper immediately took charge of the situation and administered first aid. He determined that the man was not breathing but still had a faint pulse. Cooper initiated rescue breathing and continued for several minutes until the Fire and Rescue Department arrived and took over. Cooper acted with no personal protection barrier, putting his own health in potential danger.

Also recognized at the event were members of the Fairfax County Police Department, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Town of Herndon Police Department and the Town of Vienna Police Department. Over 600 people attended the ceremony and heard the dramatic accounts of bravery and amazing stories of the lives that were saved by the members of the various public safety agencies.

In 1989, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce proudly established the Valor Awards to recognize the selfless and courageous acts of Fairfax County's public safety personnel. Proceeds from the awards ceremony will benefit the Valor Scholarship fund, which provides educational scholarships to children of Valor medal recipients. Since its inception in 1989, the fund has distributed over $160,000 to these children.

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