The Arlington Chamber of Commerce this week presented valor awards to three county police officers and two firefighters for outstanding courage in life-threatening situations last year.
The five were presented with plaques and medals at a ceremony Tuesday honoring their deeds for making Arlington "a safe and pleasant community in which to work and live." Police Chief William K. Stover and Fire Chief Thomas M. Hawkins presented the awards.
In the first case, police Sgt. Glenn Settle and Cpl. Bill Newell subdued a knife-wielding man who was threatening to kill his wife on a median strip at Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive on Aug. 6. The chamber said the officers saved the woman's life and did so with "a minimum of force while faced with incredible provocation" from the drunken husband, who kept challenging the officers to kill him.
Officer Jeffrey (Todd) Markley was cited for "courage and compassion" in capturing a gun-toting man who had fatally shot his estranged wife during a dispute over custody of their son on June 11. Markley chased the suspect as he fled in his car, and forced him to stop at George Mason and Patrick Henry drives. Markley shot the suspect twice as the man pulled his gun and begged the officer to kill him. Crouched behind his cruiser's door, Markley tried to calm the man, while other officers came up behind and overtook him.
The two firefighters saved other firefighters' lives while battling fires in heat and smoke so excessive they could not find escape routes.
In the first instance, on June 19, Shift Cmdr. Walter Kreuter of Company 79 rescued one firefighter who had lost his air-supply mask and had become disoriented in a Crystal City high-rise. Kreuter, who has since retired after 30 years with the department, led the firefighter to a stairwell and returned to rescue another disoriented firefighter. The chamber praised him for saving their lives "at great risk to his own life."
Firefighter Andy Depuy of Company 74 was cited for "courage and decisiveness that prevented a far greater tragedy from happening" during a fire July 8 at 908 N. Wayne St. Men working on a boiler with blow torches had accidentally cut a pipe, resulting in a foot-deep fuel spill that ignited, creatingsmoke so thick the firefighters could not see each other. Depuy, who had lost his own air mask, caught another firefighter who was collapsing, kept him from falling into the spill and dragged him to safety.