The White House on Tuesday honored 12 first responders who put their lives at risk to keep Americans safe.
President Trump presented the array of police officers, EMTs, and firemen with the Public Safety Medal of Valor–the highest award local police, sheriff’s and fire responders can receive.
“To each of the 12 heroes who are about to receive the Medal of Valor, you have earned an eternal place in our gratitude, in our history, and in our hearts,” President Trump said at the ceremony.
“Through your service and sacrifice, we are reminded that America’s greatest treasure is her people. In your courage, we see America’s strength. And in your character, we see America’s soul.
“And today, one proud nation says to all of you: Thank you, God bless you, and God forever bless these great heroes.”
Among the honored were eight men who saved lives running into deadly shootings, KTLA reported.
Six of them were law enforcement officers who responded to the 2015 San Bernardino, Calif. terrorist attack that left 14 dead and wounded 22 others:
Cpl. Rafael Ixco, Deputy Shaun Wallen, and Det. Bruce Southworth of the San Bernadino Sheriff’s Department; Det. Brian Olvera of the Bernadino Police Department; Redlands Police Department officer Nicholas Koahou; and District Attorney Investigator Chad Johnson.
The president praised their courage.
“When terrorists attacked defenseless employees of the San Bernardino Department of Public Health, six of the heroes with us today chased them down and put an end to their sinister rampage which was going to get a lot worse,” he said.
President Trump also honored Kansas police chief Douglas Schroeder for taking action during a workplace shooting and officer Andrew Hopfensperger, Jr. for stopping a shooter at a Wisconsin high school prom.
Others to receive Medals of Valor were EMT Sean Ochsenbein and Lt. William Buchanan, who saved a passenger from a burning car in Tennessee; California Harbor Patrol officer David Poirier, Jr. for rescuing three drowning people on a beach; and fire engineer Stephen Gunn, who saved a man from a house fire started by an arsonist.
President Trump took a moment during the event to speak about last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. in which 14 students and three teachers were killed, UPI reported.
“We will be working very, very hard on that horrible, horrible issue that took place last week in Florida. We’re working very hard,” the president said.
“We’re going to come up with solutions. It’s been many, many years and there have been no solutions.”