When three 20-year-olds assaulted a 62-year-old man in the Hunters Woods Shopping Center in Reston last March, Larry A. Rutherford was the only one among a number of bystanders who intervened.

Rutherford fended off the assailants, some of whom were armed with knives, as one of them repeatedly kicked the older man's head against the sidewalk.

Last week, Fairfax County police honored Rutherford and several other local heroes with certificates of appreciation at a ceremony at the County Administration Building.

"According to the investigator assigned to the case, the victim would probably have been killed were it not for the protective actions by Mr. Rutherford," the inscription on his certificate reads.

"They've performed a great service," police spokesman Bill Coulter said. "It's only with the support of citizens that the police department is as successful as we are."

Honored along with Rutherford were:

Shawanga Burrell, who was driving on Richmond Highway when he witnessed a struggle between a police officer and a motorist he was placing under arrest. Burrell stopped his car, got into the officer's cruiser, and radioed for assistance before helping the officer subdue the motorist.

Frederick R. Stevens, of Alexandria, who followed a police officer into a wooded area as the officer pursued a suspect on foot. Stevens helped the officer handcuff the struggling suspect, preventing his escape.

Billy R. Conley, of Fairfax City, who aided in the capture of four people he saw breaking into cars at a Fairfax town house complex. After calling police, Conley followed the suspects and noted the tag number on their car. Police later stopped the vehicle and recovered stolen property.

Phil Wedding, a Manassas Park resident, who responded immediately when a 14-year-old boy was struck by a car and seriously injured in front of the Fairfax Station Shopping Center. Wedding directed traffic around the victim on Rte. 123, freeing police and rescue workers to devote their full attention to the boy when they arrived on the scene.

Robert Grove, the park manager at Burke Lake Park, who rushed to help a shooting victim. Grove heard the victim's cries for help and followed a police officer to a nearby church parking lot, where they found the victim lying unconscious with a bullet wound to the head. The two administered CPR until medical personnel arrived.

Victor R. Forte, of Bethesda, an independent photojournalist whose film footage has helped investigators resolve numerous serious and fatal traffic accidents. Forte has also provided videotape for use in the training of new investigators.

Adrian Tapscott, of McLean, a Tysons Corner Center security guard who held back a crowd attempting to interfere with a police arrest. Tapscott placed himself between the crowd of 30 people and the police officer, who had lost his nightstick in the struggle. When backup officers arrived, Tapscott helped with several additional arrests.

The police department also awarded a certificate of appreciation to the staff of the Fairfax Hospital emergency room and intensive care units 1 and 2. Hospital workers were cited for going "beyond the call of duty" to assist victims' families and police investigators.