Ten members of Montgomery County's police and fire-rescue departments were honored for valiant acts at the recent ninth annual service awards program at Indian Spring Country Club in Silver Spring.
Presenting the awards, Montgomery County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist marvelled at the "incredible stories of heroism."
County Council president David Scull told the honorees that valor is "not just something you see on television but a regular part of your lives."
The recipients stood by as dramatic descriptions of their courageous rescues, close calls and crises were recounted.
Officer Robert T. Weikel of the county police Rockville station won a bronze medal for apprehending suspects in several burglaries, subjecting himself to gunfire while chasing a suspect through a field near Damascus Shopping Center.
Sgt. Douglas Hynson and Sgt. Joseph Conrad of the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Fire Department won bronzes for braving icy Lake Walker in Gaithersburg to tow a car out of the lake so the driver could be resuscitated by paramedics.
Sgt. Charles Lake of the county's Silver Spring station was given a bronze medal for reentering a burning Colesville Towers apartment to evacuate occupants.
John McNeece of the Hillandale Volunteer Fire Department got an honorable mention for leading a crew of firefighters to an escape after they became trapped inside a burning house on New Hampshire Avenue. His colleague, Sgt. John Kraft, won a bronze medal for his part in rescuing firefighters from the house.
Officer Raymond Simmons of Rockville received an honorable mention for talking to a young man threatening suicide in Potomac, eventually disarming him and taking him safely into custody.
Technicians Jay Dicken and Michael Bobrow of the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove and Rockville fire departments, respectively, were given honorable mentions for rescuing a trapped road worker after a section of roadway collapsed.
His negotiations with the gunman who crashed his car through the glass doors of the IBM Building in Bethesda won Joseph Hock Jr. of the Wheaton station an honorable mention.