President Donald Trump awarded 14 officers and first responders from across the country with the Medal of Valor Wednesday, May 22, the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer.
Speaking from the East Room at the White House the president addressed the Valor recipients and guests, ”I welcome everyone to the White House, a very special place, as we award our very bravest law enforcement officers and firefighters our nation’s highest public safety award, the Medal of Valor. Congratulations. It’s a great award.”
A longtime supporter of law enforcement and first responders, the president extended his appreciation and respect on behalf of the White House and the country.
“To the heroes we honor today, this afternoon, we express the gratitude and pride of our nation for your immortal acts of courage,” said the president. “To the families who join us, you carry a great burden so that our citizens can live in safety and in peace. We cherish and thank each and every one of you.”
The president hailed the bravery of each officer as he recounted the stories that helped award them the honor.
Two of the recipients died in the line of duty. Officer Verdell Smith Sr. of Memphis, Tennessee, was clearing civilians from a crowded street when a driver speeding recklessly struck him.
Officer Brent Thompson from Dallas was conducting traffic and pedestrian control duties during a protest march when a man opened fire and shot Thompson.
Expressing a message of unity and solidarity with the men and women who put their lives on the line daily, President Trump added, “An attack on our police is an attack upon our entire nation. Through their sacrifice, Sergeant Smith and Officer Thompson defeated evil men with the goodness and bravery of true American heroes. We are eternally grateful in their debt. Thank you very much. That’s really great.”