Two Lenexa Firefighters Honored with Medal of Valor

Two Lenexa Firefighters Honored with Medal of Valor
Posted on 05/22/2019
Dustin Moore and Andrew Freisner

Two Lenexa firefighters were among 14 public safety officers awarded the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor by President Donald Trump during a White House ceremony on Wednesday, May 22. The Medal of Valor is awarded to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect others from harm.

Lenexa Fire Captain Dustin Moore and Firefighter Paramedic Andrew Freisner were part of a team who responded to an apartment fire in April 2017. Working alongside other fire personnel from Lenexa, Shawnee, and Overland Park, Kansas, Moore and Freisner successfully rescued an adult, two small children and a family pet from a life-threatening situation.

When fire crews arrived at the apartment building, the fire was visible on three sides of the structure and the roof. Wind gusts of 35 mph were causing the fire to grow aggressively, driving the blaze throughout the building. All three levels of the building’s interior stairwells were impassable due to the fire, which meant no one could evacuate or enter the building. A dispatcher from the Johnson County Emergency Communications Center advised responders of a family trapped in an apartment on the second floor.

Moore and Freisner used a ladder to access the family’s balcony and removed the glass from a locked sliding door. The apartment was smoke filled with near-zero visibility, and increasing heat level, a situation deemed Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health. Without hesitation, Moore and Freisner entered the apartment and searched for the family.

The firefighters located the occupants – an adult and two young children – in a bedroom, where they were conscious but in declining health conditions. Moore and Freisner helped evacuate the family to the apartment’s balcony, where other firefighters took the three to safety. Moore reentered the apartment to make sure no one else was there and rescued the family’s dog.

“It is an honor to have members of the Lenexa Fire Department be recognized for selflessly upholding their oath to serve and protect our community,” said Lenexa Fire Chief Lonny Owens. “During this incident, Fire Captain Dustin Moore and Firefighter Paramedic Andrew Freisner represented the City of Lenexa and its Fire Department with professionalism and bravery. This outcome would not have been possible without the cooperation and assistance provided by the Lenexa Police Department, Johnson County Emergency Communications Center, Shawnee Fire Department, Overland Park Fire Department, and the many members of the Lenexa Fire Department who responded to this incident. The Lenexa Fire Department remains intentional and committed to reducing fire risks in this community to avoid these perilous situations. However, should the need arise, I am confident the members of this department will respond with the same level of courage and professionalism as Fire Captain Moore and Firefighter Paramedic Freisner did on this day. Very special thanks to the Medal of Valor Review Board, Attorney General, and President Donald Trump for acknowledging this achievement with the prestigious Medal of Valor.”

The Medal of Valor, authorized by the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act of 2001, is the highest national award for valor presented to a public safety officer. To receive the Medal of Valor, public safety officers must be nominated by the chief executive officer of their employing agencies, recommended by the bipartisan Medal of Valor Review Board, and cited by the Attorney General.

The Medal of Valor consists of five gold radiating "V"s, which are conjoined to form an inverted star (as suggested by the Medal of Honor and often reflected in the badge designs of public safety officers). They enclose a gold rendition of the obverse of the Great Seal of the United States, which is often used by the Executive Office of the President and reflects the level of this award. The star thus formed is presidential blue and is resting upon a wreath of laurel designating the highest level of honor and achievement and is attached via a hinge to a stylized gold wreath of laurel that is charged with a "V" for valor. The ribbon consists of blue, white and red, our national colors combined with gold, for honor. The ribbon bar contains a gold wreath also charged with a gold "V".

The Lenexa Fire Department is among the elite departments in the nation having been accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) since 2002 and recognized by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) as having earned the highest “Class 1” Public Protection Classification since 2014. Less than a quarter of one percent of fire departments earn this top ISO rating, which measures the quality and effectiveness of a fire department’s suppression, communications, water supply and community risk reduction capacities. The Lenexa Fire Department is one of 77 agencies nationwide to have earned both CFAI accredited status and ISO Class 1 rating.

Published May 22, 2019