UPDATED 6:14 AM PT – Tuesday, May 17, 2022
The White House hosted a ceremony on Monday to honor public safety officers who performed acts of heroism.
President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland recognized 15 public safety officers by awarding them with a Medal of Valor. Biden gave the award to the 2020 and 2021 classes after the COVID-19 pandemic postponed both ceremonies.
The Medal of Valor is the highest honor a public safety officer can receive for performing acts of heroism.
“Today is an important day for the nation to give thanks for all that you do for everybody, for all of us,” Biden said. “Because of COVID-19 we couldn’t have this special ceremony for the past two years, but I’m honored that we finally can today. Fifteen public safety officers from eight different departments with a Medal of Valor, the highest award a president can bestow on a public safety officer.”
The recipients of the award included nine police officers and six fire fighters. One recipient was a North Carolina police officer who tragically passed away after saving a woman during a hostage situation in a busy retail area.
“You’re the heart and soul and the very spine, very spine of this country and your communities,” he proclaimed. “Each one of you from small town departments to big cities, you’re cut from the same cloth. You possess a selflessness that’s really hard to explain. A rare commitment to your neighbors and your fellow Americans, an unusual bravery that inspires everyone and you’ve been singled out because of your extraordinary heroism.”
Today, I awarded the Medal of Valor to 15 public safety officers – including two who died in the line of duty. These heroes represent the best of who we are as Americans – and these medals reflect the profound gratitude of our nation. pic.twitter.com/4DS4VNb7tL
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 17, 2022
Biden ended the ceremony by paying tribute to a retired Buffalo police officer who was killed during a mass shooting incident, which left 10 people dead and three others injured. The President is set to visit Buffalo on Tuesday in light of the tragic incident.