Three police officers, two fire department paramedics and a deputy sheriff will be honored with medals of valor today by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.
The honors lunch, to be held this year at the Stouffer's Hotel in Crystal City, will become an annual event, according to Norm Worthington, executive vice president of the chamber.
The honorees are police officers Richard Alt, Susan Beuchert and Noel Hanrahan, paramedics Wallace Cochran and James Trainum and Deputy Sheriff James Anderson.
"It's time we finally got around to implementing the idea of honoring our men and women who risk their lives to protect the community," Worthington said.
Hanrahan is being honored for stopping an armed robbery at a fast-food restaurant on Jan. 14. Three suspects had taken cash from behind the counter and robbed customers when Hanrahan came on the scene.
Hanrahan pursued one of the suspects, who was carrying two bags of money in one hand and a handgun in the other. When the suspect pointed his gun at the officer, Hanrahan fired one shot, hitting the bags and spilling the money.
Hanrahan chased the suspect outdoors, subdued him, located the other two suspects and, assisted by other officers, arrested all three.
Susan Beuchert will be honored for stopping a woman from jumping off a first-floor roof. After Beuchert failed to talk her down, the policewoman crawled out on the roof to stop her.
Beuchert was bitten and nearly pulled off the roof during the struggle, but she kept the woman from jumping until additional officers arrived and helped her control the woman.
An armed robbery suspect attempting an escape elicited Richard Alt's quick response. The suspect had forced a driver out of his car and attempted to drive away, backing the car over a curb and blowing a tire, when Alt came on the scene, ordering him out of the car.
The suspect turned toward Alt with both hands in front of him in a shooting posture.
Alt, in a crouched position but with no protection, fired twice and wounded the man, whose gun flew out of his hand.
Paramedics James Trainum and Wallace Cochran are credited with helping to save the lives of several apartment residents who inhaled carbon monoxide. The paramedics responded to a call during the height of the flu season last January and encountered two apartment dwellers who appeared to have symptoms of influenza.
But both paramedics sensed the victims had something other than flu; they suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.
The men asked for an engine company to meet them at the scene and firefighters found clogged chimneys were funneling deadly carbon monoxide into apartment units.
As a result of the paramedics' suspicions, five more victims of the gas were found and hospitalized. All eventually recovered.
A potentially explosive escape attempt in the juvenile block of Arlington's jail was averted when Deputy Sheriff James Anderson resisted a violent attack and sealed off a cell block.
Anderson was attacked by a juvenile offender while taking the prisoner to his cell. He was knocked to the floor and kicked in the body and head by two or three other prisoners.
As he tried to defend himself one juvenile threw a solution of commercial strength detergent and shampoo into his eyes.
Temporarily blinded and in pain, Anderson got to his feet, hung on to his keys, backed out of the cell block and locked it.
Sheriff James A. Gondles Jr. said, "Because of Deputy Anderson's devotion to duty, in obviously extreme pain and disadvantage because of blindness, the entire juvenile block was secured and several law offenders were contained where they belong -- in jail."
Fire Chief Thomas M. Hawkins and Police Chief William K. Stover also praised the group's valorous actions.
"It's a great honor for the businessmen and women of the community to recognize members of our department for their acts of bravery when their lives were in danger," Stover said. "Every day their lives are in danger and they show dedication of the highest order." acts of bravery when their lives were in danger," Stover said. "Every day their lives are in danger and they show dedication of the highest order."