State Highway Patrol Employees and Citizens Receive Departmental Awards

RALEIGH

 Colonel Bill Grey, commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, and Frank L. Perry, secretary of the Department of Public Safety, presented several members and citizens with awards in a ceremony Nov. 29. The awards given included the State Highway Patrol Award of Valor, Purple Heart Award, Meritorious Service Award, Samaritan Award, Humanitarian Service Award and the Appreciation Award.

Secretary Perry said he was honored to serve with the best men and women he has ever met.

“I have been to all 50 states. I have worked with representatives in law enforcement from all 50 states, San Juan and the District of Columbia. This is an organization that has no equal,” Perry said.  “We are honoring people today who have embraced our state motto, “To be, rather than to seem. You have answered a high calling and have gone beyond the call of duty.”

Colonel Bill Grey, commander of the State Highway Patrol said members of the Patrol shy away from the recognition they so deserve, and if left up to them, their good deeds would remain unknown.

“They don’t do this job for the recognition; they do it because they care about and love their fellow citizens,” Grey said.  “Each one of the people you will hear about today faced a challenge and met it head-on with a determination to succeed. It was their willingness to stand up in times of challenge and controversy that bring us here today –for us to honor them.”

The recipients:

Purple Heart Award

Retired Lieutenant Maurice C. Chilton

On May 9, 1989, Line Sergeant M. (Mo) C. Chilton responded to a call for assistance from a Trooper J. M. Harbeson who had pursued a speeding vehicle on I-95. The driver of the vehicle lost control and fled on foot into nearby woods. Trooper Harbeson pursued him and they were engaged in a struggle when Sgt. Chilton found them. The driver was trying to get Trooper Harbeson’s gun.

As Sgt. Chilton drew his service weapon, the suspect fired, striking Sgt. Chilton in his right forearm shattering the bone and causing severe injury and pain. A round fragment traveled up Sgt. Chilton's arm lodging in his shoulder, another struck him in the chest. As the driver continued to struggle with the trooper over his weapon, Sgt. Chilton picked up his service weapon with his left hand and fired several rounds, killing the assailant.

Although severely wounded and in great pain, Sgt.Chilton did not panic or give up. He never lost control or abandoned Trooper Harbeson whose life, as well as his own, was in serious jeopardy. Sgt. Chilton stood his ground, exhibited extraordinary courage and presence of mind under the most stressful and difficult circumstances imaginable. Sgt. Chilton's actions certainly saved his own life and the life of his fellow trooper. Sgt. Chilton was hospitalized for two weeks following the shooting and underwent several operations before returning to full duty. Sgt. Chilton went on to have a successful career retiring as a lieutenant in 2001, assigned to Troop D Headquarters, Greensboro.

Award of Valor

Trooper Nick R. White

During the morning of Aug. 22, 2016, Trooper Nick White was attempting to stop a violator in a BMW on Tucker Road in Stokes County.  The driver of the suspect vehicle immediately attempted to elude Trooper White and a high speed chase ensued, entering into Forsyth County.  The vehicle chase lasted approximately five minutes and ended when the violator vehicle crossed the centerline and collided with another vehicle.  Trooper White's vehicle became involved in the collision, which resulted in a significant facial injury to Trooper White.  Trooper White saw that the violator’s damaged vehicle was on fire. Despite his injuries, Trooper White got out of his patrol car and went to the violator vehicle, finding the offender lying unconscious across the center console. The vehicle's doors were jammed shut from the crash, so Trooper White got his fire extinguisher and put out the fire that was under the hood of the car.  Then, he tried to open the violator vehicle's doors, all of which were unable to be opened. The fire re-ignited, and the offender was still not responsive.  Using his expandable baton, Trooper White broke the windows and pulled the offender from the passenger-side front window. White removed the offender, who was still unconscious to a safe area away from the crash site. Firemen arrived and extinguished the fire which had fully engulfed the vehicle.  Trooper White's actions saved the life of the offender who had both ankles broken, a broken left femur, a fractured hip, and burns on both feet.

Samaritan Service Group Awards

Sergeant Steven M. Comer, Trooper Timothy J. Miles,Trooper Nathan S. Varney, Trooper Mark A. Bowers and Trooper Steven E. McHenry

On Aug. 23, 2016, Sergeant Comer, Trooper Miles, Trooper Varney, Trooper McHenry, and Trooper Bowers of Troop E, District 1 responded to a vehicle collision with personal injuries on Craver Road in Davidson County.  Multiple pedestrians had been struck. Upon arrival, Sergeant Comer and Trooper Miles assessed the scene and victims and determined which of the three victims needed immediate medical attention. Sgt. Comer and Trooper Miles are certified as emegency medical technicians and they immediately began medical treatment and lifesaving measures: securing airways, sealing sucking chest wounds, hemorrhage control, stabilizing compound fractures, and closed fractures. While administering medical treatment to the most seriously injured patient, Sgt. Comer and Trooper Miles directed the other members to assist an EMT who had arrived on the scene. They began administering medical treatment to the two remaining victims until the Davidson County EMS units arrived on scene and patient care was turned over to them. Sergeant Comer updated EMS units of the patient's critical condition and needed an AIRCARE unit to transport the patient to the trauma center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.  Sergeant Comer, Trooper Miles, Trooper Varney, Trooper McHenry and Trooper Bowers provided medical treatment to the three patients until EMS units arrived. 

Trooper Shane R. Furr, Trooper Michael F. Loukos and Office Assistant Angela M. James

On April 7, 2016, A senior license examiner was working with a customer at the Concord Division of Motor Vehicle office when she experienced a medical condition that caused her to become disoriented.  She fell to the floor, violently striking her head on her desk and then the floor. The Cabarrus County DMV and SHP share an office, and a coworker of the DMV employee ran over to request assistance from SHP personnel. Trooper Michael F. Loukos, Trooper Shane R. Furr and Office Assistant IV Angie James immediately responded. Trooper Loukos checked for vital signs while Trooper Furr retrieved his first aid kit and the defibrillator as Angie James dialed 9-1-1. Trooper Loukos determined that the employee had a pulse but needed emergency breaths which he applied with help from Trooper Furr until the Concord Fire and Cabarrus EMS arrived and took over the treatment. The E/6 members did not hesitate to rush to the aid of the DMV employee. They worked as a team and put their training and experience to work during this medical emergency. The woman was kept in stable condition during her emergency health crisis by the Highway Patrol members until she could be transported by Cabarrus County EMS to Carolinas Medical Center Northeast.

Trooper Julian M. Lee

On Sept. 27, 2016, Trooper Lee was dispatched to the Hopson Road overpass in Durham County where a man was standing on the opposite side of the guardrail contemplating jumping to the road below, NC 147. Lee arrived at the scene with Durham County Sheriff deputies, and he saw the distressed man standing on the ledge with his eyes closed and using a cell phone to videotape his actions. Lee and the deputies asked the man to come back over the ledge. The man refused. A deputy asked the man if he wanted to pray. The man then placed both of his hands on the bridge rail and at that time Lee and the other deputies pounced, grabbing the man and pulling him to the other side of the bridge to safety. Lee, without hesitation or thought of his own, pulled a man who was contemplating jumping-off into traffic. This presumably saved the man's life and possibly that of a motorist below.

Trooper Aaron M. Russ

On Oct. 8, 2016, as Hurricane Matthew was approaching, Trooper Russ was nearing the end of his scheduled shift.  He was monitoring the local fire, EMS and law enforcement radio traffic and heard the fire department being called out to a stranded motorist trapped in a ditch with the water rising near Trooper Russ' home. The fire department advised with the high winds and downed trees and power lines in this area they would be unable to respond until after the storm had passed. Trooper Russ traveled to the location and found that she was still in her car.  She had swerved to avoid a falling tree and driven into a ditch.  She was unable to exit the car because the angle caused the door to be too heavy to open and the doors on the other side were pinned against the ditch.  Trooper Russ opened her car and held it while she crawled out. He put her in his car and attempted to carry her to her destination. While Trooper Russ was helping her out of the car, more trees had fallen, bringing down power lines.  Trooper Russ was unable to travel back the way he had come, so he went to his house where he and his family welcomed her into their home to stay until the hurricane passed. 

Sergeant John B. Gardner

On Aug. 2, 2016, Sgt. J. B. Gardner was traveling south on Capital Blvd. just past Wake Forest Road and noticed two vehicles preparing to come out of the Gander Mountain parking lot. A female was on the phone and waved him down as he passed by. Sgt. Gardner saw a male subject lying between the cars. The female told Sgt. Gardner that the man was not breathing. Gardner immediately grabbed his EMT bag and assessed the situation. The male, in fact, was not breathing but still had a pulse. Sgt. Gardner observed that the subject had track marks on his arms and was turning blue. Sgt. Gardner notified Raleigh Communications that he needed EMS for a possible drug overdose. He immediately began resuscitative efforts. Sgt. Gardner inserted an airway and used a Bag-Valve-Mask to assist his breathing. The subject’s color started to return as Wake EMS arrived on the scene, and they connected oxygen to his Bag-Valve-Mask. They started an IV, and the male slowly started breathing on his own and was transported by EMS to the hospital. Sgt. Gardner’s quick response, alertness, and specialized training without a doubt saved this man’s life. 

Trooper Shane L. Herrin

On  Oct. 15, 2016, Trooper S.L. Herrin was in Rockwell listening to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department radio traffic and heard them dispatch deputies to a shooting on Old Beatty Ford Road.  As Trooper Herrin was traveling towards that location, he heard that the victim had been shot multiple times. Trooper Herrin arrived on scene, grabbed his personal aid bag and located the deputies and the victim on the front porch of the house at that location. They had secured the scene and Trooper Herrin began to assess the victim and try to locate his wounds. The victim was shot once center-chest, through his left side with an exit wound out his right side, once in his right thigh, and just to the right of his groin. As Trooper Herrin was assessing him, the victim was complaining that it was hard to breathe and he kept asking if he was going to die. Trooper Herrin removed the victim's shirt and and determined that his leg wound and his groin wound were bleeding more. The fire department was on the scene right behind Trooper Herrin and they started oxygen on the victim as Trooper Herrin was dressing the victim's wounds. Trooper Herrin began dressing the victim’s leg wound. EMS arrived on scene and Trooper Herrin assisted rolling the victim over as they located the exit wound on his leg. They got the victim strapped to backboard and Trooper Herrin grabbed a second dressing and placed it over the wound beside the victim's groin and used the victim's clothing to hold it in place and he was carried off the front porch and onto the stretcher and into the ambulance.

Trooper Chuck Lee

On  Sept. 27, 2016, Trooper Chuck Lee was on patrol at N.C. 16 near Optimist Club Road in Lincoln County.  Trooper Lee was alerted to the horn of a nearby vehicle. The driver of a white Cadillac SUV honked her horn and waved at Lee to get his attention. Trooper Lee approached the vehicle and the driver told Trooper Lee that she was feeling ill. Trooper Lee offered to have an ambulance respond, but the woman requested that Trooper Lee instead follow her a half mile to her residence.  Upon arriving at her home, the woman told Trooper Lee she had been having seizures within the last week and had been seen at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte that morning. Her doctors were unable to diagnose her medical condition. Trooper Lee assisted the woman from her vehicle and up the steps to the front door.  While attempting to enter the residence, the woman lost her balance and dropped to the floor. The woman was shaking intensely, and Trooper Lee contacted Newton Communications to request an ambulance with no delay to her residence. A few minutes later, the woman became totally unresponsive and stopped breathing.  After checking for a pulse, Trooper Lee immediately began administering CPR, giving chest compressions for approximately one minute.  The woman began moving her hands again, gasped for breath, and began breathing.  Lincoln County EMS arrived at this time to administer further medical assistance. 

First Sergeant Steven C. Kirby

On July 12, 2016, Fst. Sgt. S. C. Kirby was scheduled off duty for a doctor’s appointment in Lumberton. A little after noon, he was heading home with his son. As they were pulling into their neighborhood, Fst. Sgt. Kirby noticed that a neighbor on the corner was kneeling in the yard with his sister and brother-in-law. It appeared that his neighbor had fallen out of his wheel chair near the garden and they were trying to get him up to put him back in it. Fst. Sgt. Kirby  told his son to stop and back up because they needed help.  As Fst. Sgt. Kirby exited his vehicle, he heard the woman yell that they needed help. Fst. Sgt. Kirby ran up to them and asked if his neighbor, had fallen out of his chair and she said he had collapsed and was not breathing.  Fst. Sgt. Kirby picked Mr. Brooks up off his knees and laid him on the ground and assessed his vitals.  He determined that he was not breathing nor did he have a pulse and his lips were blue.  Fst. Sgt. Kirby instructed the lady and his son to call 911.  Fst. Sgt. Kirby started full CPR, with help from his son, on Mr. Brooks for approximately 10 minutes until the fire department arrived along with police and EMS.  Mr. Brooks survived after being shocked three times and was put into ICU unit that night. 

Richard Wyrick

On Oct. 17, 2016 while standing in the parking lot of the Troop D garage, Richard Wyrick observed a Piedmont Triad Ambulance respond to the parking lot of the DMV office.  Richard saw the paramedic checking on a male subject in a SUV then he pulled him from the vehicle and started to perform CPR.  Richard ran into the shop and grabbed a pair of gloves and ran out to see if he could help.  Richard got the bag valve mask from their bag and set up the oxygen and assisted with the CPR by suppling oxygen to the patient until Greensboro Fire arrived and took over suppling oxygen.  Richard then assisted Greensboro Fire Department with getting the patient on a back board so he could be moved.  Richard is always willing to help the general public. He could have stood by and waited for the EMS and Fire Departments do their job but he loves to help. He jumped into action when he realized the patient was not breathing and went to assist with CPR. Richard is the Chief of Monroeton Fire Department in Monroeton. This is a volunteer department and he performes his duties out of love for helping people in need.

Richard Needham

On  July 16, 2016, Richard Needham was dining with family at the Mellow Mushroom Restaurant on Peace Street in Raleigh.  While eating, Richard's 14-year-old daughter, Jenna, began to choke on her food.  She stood up and presented signs that she was choking by grabbing her throat area. Richard, thinking and acting quickly, immediately jumped up and performed the Heimlich Maneuver on his daughter, dislodging the food stuck in her throat. Seated nearby, Lt. John C. Morton, who was off-duty, also sprung into action to assist. Due to the mandatory CPR training provided to all SHP employees, Richard was able to quickly recognize that his daughter was in distress, assess the situation and save her life. 

Meritorious Service Group Award

Trooper James A. McVicker, Jr. and Trooper Kathryn L. McVicker

Trooper J. A. McVicker, Jr. and Trooper Kathryn L. McVicker of Troop B, District 5 (Bladen County) developed a program to present to teen drivers in Bladen County. They thought of programs that were offered in other counties relating to teen safety, and realized that no programs of that nature had ever been presented in Bladen County.  It was at this moment that they both decided that something needed to be done to protect the youth of Bladen County, and "Operation Safe Summer" was born.  On April 11, 2016 Trooper McVicker and Trooper Freeman partnered with two deputies with the Bladen County Sheriff's Department and began to develop the program. They met with Bladen County School Board administrators and received their permission to present the program to the students at both high schools in the county. 

There was a very short period of time to get the program together due to upcoming exams and the end of the school year.  It was decided that the program would be presented to both schools on Friday, May 13th.  During the program, students were taken into the gymnasium and shown a video of local high school students skipping school, drinking down by the river and then driving away while texting.  The students then moved outside to watch a mock traffic collision that included Fire/EMS extricating victims from a wrecked car, the driver being given field sobriety tests and then placed in handcuffs, and EMS driving away with the injured victims.  All the while, the "Grimm Reaper" was walking around the scene. The students then went back into the gymnasium and watched video clips of the patient dying in the trauma room and then being wheeled to the morgue.  The driver is then processed for DWI, placed in the county jail, and then appears in court before a judge to be sentenced.  There is also a clip of a trooper notifying the mother of the deceased that her son had passed away.  When the lights come back on, there was a coffin sitting there with the deceased student's high school football jersey draped across it.  At that time, a local pastor begins to deliver a eulogy and talks about the dangers associated with driving while impaired or being distracted while driving.  At the end of the eulogy, a set of parents from Wilmington, John and Tina Rossi, spoke about the very emotional death of their son who had died in a drunk-driving crash.  Both members spent numerous hours of their own time creating this program, choreographing and filming the video segments, along with coordinating the efforts of all those involved.  It was a true team effort and collaboration between all agencies involved.

Meritorious Service Award

Sergeant Daniel T. Hilburn

On Oct. 8, 2016, Sgt. Daniel Hilburn was assigned to the Columbus County Emergency Operations Command to provide any assistance needed during Hurricane Matthew. Sgt. Hilburn was only there a short time before he was made a part of the Incident Management Team and named branch director for all law enforcement assets in Columbus County.  During the storm and the aftermath, he managed all logistical requests for manpower, meals, lodging and mission assignments for the next 18 days, working from sun up to well after sunset. Sgt.t Hilburn worked more than 250 hours in just three weeks. He was tasked with coordinating missions for the NC National Guard, NCDMV License and Theft officers, the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, all the local police departments, and numerous squads of state troopers who were sent from outside Troop B to assist with the disaster.  Sgt. Hilburn coordinated efforts with the N.C. State Fire Marshal’s Office to provide for escorts from as far away as Scotland County to ensure responding fire departments from across the state were able to get to Columbus County in a safe and timely manner to provide the needed relief to the local volunteer fire departments.

At one point during the disaster, Sgt. Hilburn was responsible for more than 30 N.C. Guardsman, 16 troopers, 14 NCDMV officers and numerous local law enforcement officers.  After working for more than two weeks straight, Sgt. Hilburn volunteered to work in the Town of Fair Bluff, on Saturday and Sunday, for the Chief of Police, so the chief could go home and get some much needed rest. Sgt. Hilburn’s dedication to duty and to the citizens of Columbus County, reflects great credit upon himself, the North Carolina Highway Patrol, and the State of North Carolina.

Trooper Joseph P. Howard

On May 29, 2016, Trooper J.P. Howard stopped a vehicle for speeding on U.S. 17 in Beaufort County.  Upon his approach, Trooper Howard observed a male driver, two female passengers, and an infant. Trooper Howard started a general conversation with the driver.  Based on his training and experience, Trooper Howard suspected the driver was involved in some type of criminal activity. Trooper Howard ran a license check which revealed the driver was wanted in Virginia. Trooper Howard observed that the two young females appeared to be very nervous.  After securing the driver, Trooper Howard interviewed the female passengers. Trooper Howard contacted the Raleigh Communication Center and determined one of the female passengers was a missing juvenile from Virginia. Trooper Howard made contact with the juvenile's father who told him the driver had been using his daughter for prostitution. The driver was arrested and subsequently extradited back to Virginia. The missing juvenile, the other female, and the infant were transported to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. The N.C. Department of Social Services was contacted and the missing juvenile was later transported to Virgina and reunited with her family. Thanks to Trooper Howard's keen observation and investigative skills, a routine traffic stop for speeding led to the recovery of a missing juvenile as well as the capture of a dangerous wanted criminal.

Trooper Steven D. Reed

On, May 5, 2016, Trooper S.D. Reed presented a Keys To Life program at Cape Fear High School. Trooper Reed spent months, on and off duty, preparing for this presentation. The presentation was to show the students the consequences of drinking and driving, along with texting while driving.  He coordinated and planned the entire program, which was presented to 1,400 juniors and seniors of area schools during the last two years. Trooper Reed contacted members of the Cumberland County Alcohol Law Enforcement, Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, Hope Mills Police Department, Cumberland County EMS, Cotton Volunteer Fire Department, Pearce's Mill Fire Department, and District Court Judge Lou Olivera as well as other members of the Patrol to assist with this event. The presentation included a mock collision involving a fatality and an impaired driver being arrested. Trooper Reed explained that the impaired driver was not only facing a DWI charge, but was now facing a felonious death by motor vehicle charge. He went on to explain to the students that the worst part of his job would be having to drive to the victims residence and tell them their loved one was dead. He told the students to "Use your head and think ahead." After the mock collision, students are given the opportunity to drive a golf cart with the impaired driving goggles and to negotiate an orange cone course whilt texting at the same time.  Trooper Reed is totally committed to keeping the streets and highways safe and loves getting this message out to the local communities in an attempt to keep the children of Cumberland County safe. 

Humanitarian Service Award

Trooper Herbert B. Lane

Since May 6, 2008 Trooper Lane has ridden his bicycle with a group called Law Enforcement United.  The group honors a fallen officer and raises money to support the C.O.P.S. Kids Camp.   C.O.P.S. Kids Camp is for surviving children (6-14 years of age) of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.  C.O.P.S. Kids Camp provides family interaction, camp activities, grief counseling, and relaxation.  Kids have the opportunity to attend age appropriate grief counseling sessions and participate in activities such as swimming, fishing, arts and crafts, canoeing, ropes courses, archery, shooting sports and campfire skits. Trooper Lane and the LEU group have raised more than $3.4 million for the C.O.P.S. Kids Camp so that children can attend free of charge.

Trooper Lane and the LEU group used to ride 250 miles from Chesapeake Virginia to Washington D.C.  However, when Trooper Bobby Gene DeMuth was killed in 2012, Trooper Lane decided to begin his bike ride from the Highway Patrol Memorial at the SHP Training Academy to the National Memorial in Washington D.C. adding another 255 miles.  The 505 mile ride has started at the Highway Patrol Memorial every year since De Muth’s death.

Trooper Lane is the only North Carolina State Trooper that is part of the Law Enforcement United initiative.  So far for 2016, he has raised $11,000 dollars on his own by speaking at businesses and to the general public on what the charity is about and how it benefits families.  Due to the amount of law enforcement officer deaths in 2016, there are 204 new kids that will be invited to the C.O.P.S. Kids Camp in 2017. 

Sergeant Craig G. Harris

For the past six years, just prior to Christmas, Sgt. Craig Harris works with and arranges for members of Troop G, District 4 to make an appearance at Mission Hospital in Asheville to visit very sick kids and their families. Sgt. Harris communicates with the members of District 4 to buy small games, puzzles, crossword games, and other items of interest for children. If a member wants to contribute, but cannot do the shopping, Sgt.  Harris gladly does the shopping for them on his personal time. Each member of District 4 generously donates items and most of these members sign up to attend the visit. The look on the kid's faces when the troopers show up with gifts is an image that one would never forget. The acts of Sgt. Harris allow these children to forget about their sicknesses and focus on Christmas and just being kids. 

A few years ago, Sgt. Harris' nephew attended elementary school with a young boy. Sgt. Harris' nephew told him this young boy was bullied and being made fun of at school because he came from a poor family. After checking into the situation, Sgt. Harris learned the mother of this boy was battling cancer and the outlook was grim; needless to say, this boy was struggling.  Not only did Sgt. Harris go to the school on several occasions and have lunch with this boy, he collected money from within District 4 to buy this boy several pairs of shoes and new clothes. Sgt.  Harris goes above and beyond the call of duty within his community dealing with children. 

Colonel’s Appreciation Award

Beverly Reece

In August of 2015, Beverly Reece donated snacks and drinks to districts in Troop D during the DWI blitz week. Again this year she went above and beyond and donated snacks for the blitz week and then donated many of the snacks and drinks distributed to the troopers working the State Fair. She also donated snacks to be sent with members deployed during Hurricane Matthew as well as clothing, toiletires and household items to be delivered to those impacted by the hurricane. She has spent more than $2,000 on SHP members out of the good of her heart. If members from districts D7, Orange County or C7, Durham County, run into Beverly during a meal break, she will pay for their meal. She is always armed with special post cards that have handwritten thank you notes and gift cards to go towards their next meal. She refers to the troopers now as her boys and has most definitely adopted them into a very special place in her heart.  

 

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