Shenandoah Officers awarded Medals of Honor

From left, Officer Duenas, Asst. Chief Gresham, Officer Reade and Lt. Troye Dunlap.

Two Shenandoah Police Officers were the first in their department to receive Medals of Bravery, awarded to individuals who attempt to save a life without thought to their own safety.

Officer C.J. Duenas and Officer Patrick Reade received the medals in recognition of their heroic effort to save the lives of three children trapped in a burning house.

The officers, along with an officer from Oak Ridge North, responded in May to an early morning blaze in
Tamina, a neighboring community.

Upon arrival, the officers learned that three children were trapped on a second floor. The officers entered the residence through a first-story open door and were immediately met with flames, extreme heat and low visibility due to smoke.

Without protective clothing, the officers made a valiant attempt to locate the children, exiting only when it became apparent that the floor was collapsing above them.

Once outside, Reade attempted to make entry from a second story window. Climbing a ladder, he broke the window with his fist, cutting his arm, and tried to get a verbal response.

Once again, the heat and smoke forced him to retreat down the stairs. As he reached the ground, the structure collapsed. Both Reade and Duenas were transported to the hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation and the laceration.



In making the presentation, Asst. Chief Barry Gresham began with a quotation from actor John Wayne - "Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway."

Gresham recounted the early morning actions of the officers before presenting their awards. He told Council and the audience how the young men were able to put aside their own fears in an effort to save three children that they didn't know, who didn't live in their city but who needed their help. And they continued to try until there was nothing else that could be done.

Tragically, the children perished in the fire. "It is my honor and privilege to present the Medal of Bravery to Officer Patrick Reade and Officer Clemente Duenas," said Gresham as he presented each medal.

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