Federal Employees News Digest

DHS secretary recognizes 12 for valor

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson this month presented Department of Homeland Security awards for valor to 10 of the department's employees, as well as to two members of local law enforcement. The honorees were chosen for displaying "exceptional valor."

“The Secretary’s Award for Valor is the highest honor to recognize those who have put others before themselves, integrity and duty above all else,” Johnson said. “Like so many others at the department who preserve our freedoms and protect the homeland with integrity and respect, the valor awardees performed well beyond what is expected, responding in extraordinary action to help another in need."

Among the honorees were Customs and Border Protection Officer Michael Hedlund, who in June 2014 blocked traffic with his vehicle and evacuated residents from nearby homes after a military jet crashed into a residential area in Imperial Valley, Calif.; Border Patrol Agent Jerome Schmitt, who in March 2014 provided lifesaving medical care for two hours at the Sasabe, Ariz., port of entry to a U.S. citizen who had suffered multiple gunshot wounds while in Mexico; and Secret Service Sergeant-Technician William Uher, who in November 2014 removed a badly injured driver from a car at an accident scene on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway as a fire broke out under the car's hood.

Lt. Heather Sylve of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in New Orleans was of the two recipients who were not DHS employees. Sylve was the local law enforcement officer who in March stopped a machete-wielding attacker from forcing his way through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans. According to DHS, the attacker—who also carried a backpack full of gasoline bombs—was "inches away" from striking a TSA officer with the machete when Sylve fired three shots at the man and stopped him.

See the full list of honorees at: www.dhs.gov/news/2015/05/14/secretary-johnson-presents-award-valor.

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