The recipient of this year’s award is Lieutenant Bradford T. Clark, of Hanover County (VA) Fire-EMS. The award will be presented posthumously, with his wife Melanie Clark accepting the award.
On October 11, 2018, Hanover Fire-EMS was managing heavy call volume because of the impacts of Tropical Storm Michael when Lieutenant Clark’s unit, Engine 6, was dispatched to an accident on the Interstate highway at 21:00. As the crew was dismounting the apparatus to size up the incident, Lieutenant Clark observed a tractor trailer speeding toward the unit as he rounded the front of the engine. Rather than using this moment to jump to safety, Lieutenant Clark yelled to warn his crew, allowing them a split-second notice to gain cover and brace for impact. One firefighter who was riding behind Lieutenant Clark was reaching back into the jump seat to retrieve a medical bag when he heard Lieutenant Clark’s warning. Sensing the impending impact, he dove headfirst back into the cab as the tractor trailer struck the rear of Engine 6. That firefighter emerged from the wreckage without significant injuries and was able to begin treatment of his fellow firefighters. The driver of the Engine 6 and other jump seat firefighter received significant life-threatening injuries as a result of the impact. Read more here
The Fire Engineering Courage and Valor Foundation was created to ensure that we as Americans “Remember Forever” the fallen firefighters of September 11 and in their memory recognize other firefighters who demonstrate that same courage and valor in rescue missions.
The Ray Downey Courage and Valor Award commemorates the life and career achievements of Deputy Chief Ray Downey, who lost his life while commanding rescue operations at the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001. Deputy Chief Downey was chief of rescue operations and a 39-year veteran of the Fire Department of New York. He was the most highly decorated firefighter in the history of FDNY. Deputy Chief Downey commanded rescue operations at many difficult and complex disasters, including the Oklahoma City Bombing, the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, and many natural disasters worldwide.
For his lifetime of unparalleled service to firefighters and citizens alike, and in remembrance of the courage and valor exemplified many times throughout his life, it is fitting that the Courage and Valor Award, presented to one extraordinarily courageous American firefighter each year, bear the name of Ray Downey, a truly extraordinary man.
Keep the tradition alive!
For more information visit www.courageandvalor.org.