Community emergency responders given recognition for service and sacrifice at the 2023 Valor Awards | BizFayetteville (2024)

The Public Safety Valor Awards joined forces with the Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce to honor this year’s public safety officials and first responders at the 2023 Valor Awards, presented by Manna Church and Highland Construction.

Featuring over 50 award recipients across eight categories, the event allowed some light to be shed over some of the heroic and life changing actions taken everyday by local heroes.

Community emergency responders given recognition for service and sacrifice at the 2023 Valor Awards | BizFayetteville (1)

The event began with opening welcome remarks from Public Safety Valor Awards Chairperson Lynnie Guzman of Holmes Security.

“I wanted to say thank you, for the first responders, your unwavering dedication and commitment, your selflessness, your bravery, your tireless efforts in ensuring the safety and well being of our community have not gone unnoticed. Your sacrifices often surpass the call of duty. And I know I'm not alone, in saying I'm truly grateful,” said Guzman in part during her address.

Welcomes continued with Greater Fayetteville Chamber CEO Nat Robertson who greeted the crowd, thanked sponsors and highlighted the importance of those who serve in the line of duty saying in part:

“Today I’d like to emphasize the vital role that first responders and their families play in our community. First responders are the unsung heroes that rush towards danger, while the rest of us run away. They are the brave individuals who selflessly put their lives on the line to protect and serve us in times of crisis while their families are at home praying for a safe return. Whether it’s firefighters battling raging blazes, paramedics providing life saving medical care, or police and sheriff's deputies maintaining law and order, first responders are the backbone of society’s safety net,” said Robertson.

He then introduced the event’s host, Don Chase of Beasley Media Group. Following a video from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, who also spoke on the importance of emergency responders to the community, the awards ceremony officially began and the following were recognized:

Community emergency responders given recognition for service and sacrifice at the 2023 Valor Awards | BizFayetteville (2)

The Valor award is the highest award for valor and heroism and is awarded in cases in which a public safety official knowingly places themselves at risk of death or extreme serious bodily harm in the performance of an official act.

This year’s Valor Award recipients were:

  • Officer Kristin Parkinson - Fayetteville Police Department
  • Officer Valeria Popravko - Fayetteville Police Department
  • Paramedic Jonathan Breswitz -Cumberland County EMS
  • Detective Benjamin Ramirez - Fayetteville Police Department

The following received Valar Awards and Unit Citation

  • Officer Lorilei Fogata - Fayetteville Police Department
  • Officer Timothy Krouse - Fayetteville Police Department
  • Officer Rebecca Rivera - Fayetteville Police Department
  • Officer Albert Caasi - Fayetteville Police Department
  • Firefighter Joshua Barnes - Fayetteville Fire Department
  • Fayetteville Fire Department
Community emergency responders given recognition for service and sacrifice at the 2023 Valor Awards | BizFayetteville (3)

The Citizens Award recognizes a citizen for aiding first responders and community members.

The award went to Lt. Eric James of Fort Liberty FORSCOM HQ. James provided life saving first aid to a patient in medical distress while waiting for EMT personnel to arrive on scene.

Community emergency responders given recognition for service and sacrifice at the 2023 Valor Awards | BizFayetteville (4)

The People’s Choice/ Bass Air Local Hero Award is selected from public nominations while all other awards are agency nominated. The 2023 People’s Choice Award was presented to Fire Chief Jason Williams of Spring Lake Fire Department.

Williams was recognized due to his work in expanding Fire Operations in Spring Lake, his work as both Fire Chief and Interim Town Manager which he was named in October 2022 and his work upgrading Spring Lake’s First Responder capabilities while reducing costs to residents.

Community emergency responders given recognition for service and sacrifice at the 2023 Valor Awards | BizFayetteville (5)

The 2023 Hall of Fame Award honors exceptional leaders in Cumberland County in the field of public safety who have made significant contributions to their profession.

This year, the award was given to Retired Fire Chief Duke J. Piner of Fayetteville Fire Department. Piner was honored for giving more than three decades of his life to serving the community and promoting public safety in and around Cumberland County. Accomplishments include leading FDD to join the Cumberland Fire Chiefs Association in 1990, bringing the North Carolina State Firefighters Association to Fayetteville for the first time in 40 years and integrating several volunteer fire stations into the Fayetteville Fire Department due to land annexations.

Community emergency responders given recognition for service and sacrifice at the 2023 Valor Awards | BizFayetteville (6)

The Freddy L. Johnson Sr. Leadership Award recognizes an individual that has reached the pinnacle of community leadership and service. The 2023 Leadership Award was presented to Fayetteville Fire Department Chief Michael Hill.

Hill was recognized for his more than 35 years of experience, making an impact on the Cumberland County Fire service through volunteerism and his commitment to the community, Fayetteville Fire Department, Wade Community Fire Department, and the North Carolina Fire Service.

The Award of Merit recognizes outstanding public safety work, demonstrating initiative, ingenuity and/ or diligence in performing their duties.

This year, a combination of individuals and departments were given an Award of Merit for their acts of sacrifice throughout 2022 those individuals are:

  • Paramedic Demetrius McRae - Cumberland County EMS
  • Patrol Officer Malik Passmore - Spring Lake Police Department
  • Sgt. Keshore Taylor - Spring Lake Police Department
  • SSGT Keth Bates - Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office
  • Deputy Leon Johnson - Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office
  • Judge Lou Olivera - Cumberland County District Court
  • Cumberland County EMS
  • Westarea Fire Department
  • Captain Sean Austin - Stoney Point Fire Department
  • Deputy Christopher Cox - Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office
  • Telcom 3, Amanda Ivey - Cumberland County Emergency Services
  • Clerk of the Board Clarkie Johnson - Stoney Point Fire Department
  • Deputy Mike Kampe - Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office
  • Investigative Asst. Lisa Long - Fayetteville Police Department
  • Fire Marshal Kevin Lowther - Cumberland County Emergency Services
  • Captain Jose Pomales - Stoney Point Fire Department
  • Asst. Fire Chief David Richtmeyer - Fayetteville Fire Department
  • Investigative Asst. Sonia Roldan-Jackson - Fayetteville Police Department
  • EM Planner Laura Smith - Cumberland County Emergency Services
  • Lt. Chandler Stewart - Stoney Point Fire Department

The Unit Citations recognizes the combined effort of a unit as they serve our community

This year’s Unit Citation Awards were presented to:

  • Westarea Fire Department
  • GHOST/VCAT Fayetteville Police Department - Two teams were recognized for two separate incidents.
  • Fayetteville Fire Department - Engine 2
  • Detention Center - Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office
  • Central D Squad - Fayetteville Police Department
  • Fort Liberty Fire Department
Community emergency responders given recognition for service and sacrifice at the 2023 Valor Awards | BizFayetteville (7)

The Lifesaving Award is awarded in recognition of official acts taken in a life-threatening situation where an individual's life is in jeopardy, either medically or physically. The following received a combination of Unit Citations and the Lifesaving Awards:

  • Firefighter Ray Revels Jr - Fayetteville Fire Department
  • Firefighter Christopher Suggs - Fayetteville Fire Department
  • Firefighter Jackson Godfroy - Stedman Fire Department
  • Firefighter Nathan Lester - Stedman Fire Department
  • Chief Justin Nobles -Stedman Fire Department
  • Captain John Hall - Fort Liberty Fire Department
  • Lt. Richard Raikes - Fayetteville Fire Department
  • Fayetteville Fire Department - Two teams were recognized for two separate incidents.
  • Fort Liberty Fire Department - Two teams were recognized for two separate incidents.
  • Cumberland County EMS
  • Bethany Fire Department
  • Stedman Fire Department
Community emergency responders given recognition for service and sacrifice at the 2023 Valor Awards | BizFayetteville (8)

Two officers were also recognized with the Lifesaving Award for their actions taken during a shooting incident on Aug. 17, 2022.

  • Officer Joshua Wolford - Fayetteville Police Department
  • Officer Mathew McDonald - Fayetteville Police Department
Community emergency responders given recognition for service and sacrifice at the 2023 Valor Awards | BizFayetteville (9)

It was announced that Guzman would not be returning in the position of Chairperson of the Public Safety Valor Awards next year and has named Jennifer McFadyen Hammond of CityView as her replacement.

Guzman received an Appreciation award for the past two years of service.

Reflecting on her past two years of service, Guzman provided a written statement to the Greater Fayetteville Business Journal stating in part:

“Walking out of Manna Church at the end of Tuesday's 2023 Valor Awards was bittersweet. I was sad to be stepping away as the chairperson for an event that has forever changed my perspective of first responders,” shared Guzman. “Reading the nominations each year is awe-inspiring - the stories are of people wearing invisible capes as we pass them in the grocery store, work out next to them in the gym, or sit next to them as we cheer our kids on at the ball field…” “I often heard, ‘That is our job', during the selection process. Yes, those actions are ‘the job' of our first responders, but it takes a lot to choose to put yourself in the way of danger as you look out for your community and its citizens day in and day out. Our local heroes wearing those invisible capes should be celebrated. What they do makes our community safer to live, work and play.”

The 2023 Valor Awards ceremony was live streamed on the Greater Fayetteville Chamber's Facebook page and is available to watch in its entirety here.

Community emergency responders given recognition for service and sacrifice at the 2023 Valor Awards | BizFayetteville (2024)
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