The Hampton Roads Chamber honored 21 first-responders as well as the Chesapeake Fire Department, Chesapeake Police Department, and Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office for their bravery and dedication to our community at our 2023 Valor Awards. Blaine Stewart and Kurt Williams of WTKR News 3 co-emceed this packed event and shared the stories of our local heroes.
Ultimate Valor Award: Chesapeake Fire Department, Chesapeake Police Department, Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office
The Chesapeake Fire Department, Chesapeake Police Department, and Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office were awarded the Ultimate Valor Award for their utmost bravery, skill, and care during the tragic November 22 Walmart shooting. Chesapeake Fire Chief Edmond Elliott, Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solensky, and Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office’s Sheriff Jim O’Sullivan accepted the Ultimate Valor Award on behalf of their departments. Following their acceptance of the award, all of the first-responders who responded to the tragedy that day were also asked to stand to be recognized for their valiant efforts.
Lifesaving Award: Officer Albert White of the Chesapeake Police Department
Officer White, fresh out of the Police Academy, was first on scene of the November 22 Walmart shooting. Officer White within seconds of exiting his car, helped provide medical addition to people who were injured. Once paramedics arrived, Officer White joined other officers sweeping inside the store and helping others to safety.
Lifesaving Award: Kirk McGinnis of the Newport News Fire Department, Piper Clark
While at an end of school pool party last spring, Piper Clark realized that there was another child unresponsive at the bottom of the pool. It was because of her and off-duty Newport News firefighter, Kirk McGinnis’s quick actions that the child was saved and now perfectly fine.
Lifesaving Award: Officer Randy Pierce of the Portsmouth Police Department
Showing great bravery, Officer Randy Pierce responded to several firearm related calls. On each scene, Officer Pierce’s preparedness and willingness to act were the main contributors in keeping the victims alive. Officer Pierce showed incredible valor during each of these occurrences and was honored for his heroic efforts.
Lifesaving Award: Acting Captain Matt Armey, Acting Captain Kyle Hanrahan, Victoria Preu, Tyler Retel of the Virginia Beach EMS.
Less than a minute after gunfire started, Virginia Beach EMS was on the scene thanks to a new partnership with Virginia Beach Police that embeds medics with Police Officers. This great team consisted of Acting Captain Matt Armey, Acting Captain Kyle Hanrahan, Paramedic Victoria Preu, and Paramedic Tyler Retel, who were determined to save lives. Our community is thankful for their brave acts of service!
Community Heroes Award: Officer Tyshon McNeil of the Virginia Beach Police Department
Police Officer Tyshon McNeil was honored for his work as a school resource officer. He also works with the “Kid’s Law Academy”, a 12-week interactive program that introduces kids to the law enforcement profession and allows them to have a voice for advocacy and change in our communities.
Investigative Merit Award: Detective Charles Chappell, Detective Matthew Moraczewski, Detective Sergeant Casey Thomas of the Suffolk Police Department
Detective Sergeant Casey Thomas, Detective Matthew Moraczewski, and Detective Charles Chappell with the Suffolk Police Department showed great valor when conducting several investigations on a string of related cases. These detectives met with other jurisdictions to share information and learn about their cases, and as a result of their investigative efforts, the suspects were successfully charged. Their actions not only provided safety to Suffolk, but to all of Hampton Roads!
Investigative Merit Award: Detective William Baker, Detective Ethan Bloodworth, Detective Gino Jackson, Detective Michael Siniscalchi of the Portsmouth Police Department
Since the beginning of 2022, Detectives William Baker, Michael Siniscalchi, Gino Jackson, and Ethan Bloodworth have been assigned nearly 50 cases and have made arrests in almost half of those already! During this time, Detective Siniscalchi spent Christmas Day working and interviewing a suspect, and Detective Baker, Detective Jackson and Detective Bloodworth were responsible for arresting multiple individuals involved in ongoing high-stake cases. These are only a few highlights of their impressive track record. Their tenacity makes Portsmouth and the entire Hampton Roads region a safer place to live and work!
Valor Award: Officer Christopher Hass of the Chesapeake Police Department
Officer Christopher Hass volunteered to work a targeted enforcement assignment in Chesapeake where he responded to a call regarding an armed suspect. While on scene, Office Hass was injured, yet was still able to help his fellow officers to take the suspect into custody. We are thankful for Officer Hass’ efforts and sacrifices to protect the community.
Valor Award: Investigator Scott Chambers of the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office
While working with the United States Marshal’s Regional Fugitive Task Force, Investigator Scott Chambers’ heroic actions led to him being severely injured during a successful takedown. He spent several weeks in the hospital and on his release date, was met with cheers from his peers and hospital staff who helped take care of him. Talk about valor!
Valor Award: Detective David Green and Officer Austin Keiser of the Suffolk Police Department, Battalion Chief J.C. Knight, Jr. of the Suffolk Fire Department
When Detective Green, Officer Keiser, and Battalion Chief J.C. Knight, Jr. realized two children were still in a burning building, they were determined to get them to safety! With the back stairway blocked, they knew the only way inside was through the smoke-filled front entrance where the older of the two children was able to exit. With another child still in the building, Detective Green, Officer Keiser, and Battalion Chief J.C. Knight, Jr. entered the burning building wearing no fire protection and brought the child to safety. Their bravery and selfless acts are an inspiration to us all!
We want to thank Blaine Stewart and Kurt Williams from WTKR News 3 for Celebrating Valor with us by co-emceeing the event and to our first responders for their acts of bravery and valor!
We also share our gratitude to our Valor Awards event sponsors:
Presenting Sponsor: Chesapeake Regional Healthcare
Member Spotlight Sponsor: Verizon
Virginia Beach Awards Sponsor: Beach Municipal FCU
Valor Awards Sponsor: Sentara Health/ Optima Health
Community Heroes Award Sponsor: Lumos Fiber
Gold Sponsor: AT&T
Media Sponsor: WTKR News 3
Decor Sponsor: Premier Events of Virginia Inc.
Award Sponsor: G&W Awards by Allogram South
Host Sponsor: Virginia Beach Convention Center
Visit the Hampton Roads Chamber for upcoming events and more event recaps.
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