September 4, 2021

This week, Governor Mike Parson awarded Missouri Public Safety Medals to a total of 15 first responders and seven civilians for heroic and live-saving actions during 2020. The awards are Missouri’s highest recognition for first responders acting during critical incidents. The civilians, who include Miles Spandle nominated by the Lee’s Summit Police Department, were honored for taking on harrowing risks during emergencies to save lives and support first responders.

“This ceremony is an annual reminder of our heroic first responders who bravely serve the citizens of Missouri at great risk to themselves each day,” Governor Parson said. “We are inspired by the actions of these 22 outstanding Missourians. They acted selflessly, putting the safety of others and protecting the public good above concern for their own wellbeing. We appreciate and honor these first responders and civilians for their courageous actions that ended threats and saved lives during extremely challenging emergencies.”

Family members and colleagues were in attendance for the awards presentation during the Jefferson City ceremony. The award recipients and the acts for which they were honored are as follows:

Public Safety Civilian Partnership Award: Awarded to a civilian who has provided valuable or courageous assistance to members of a Missouri public safety agency in an emergency situation.

Miles Spandle

On August 9, 2020, Lee’s Summit Police and other emergency responders were dispatched to a vehicle on fire on eastbound Highway 50 in Lee’s Summit. When Lee’s Summit Police Sergeant Mike Murray arrived on scene, he found Miles Spandle, in medical scrubs, already on the scene treating a victim who was in serious condition.

Spandle, a St. Luke’s Hospital emergency room trauma nurse, had been driving westbound on the divided highway. When he saw the burning vehicle, he immediately parked his car, grabbed his emergency trauma kit, and crossed the grass median to the eastbound lanes. The injured driver was in the driver seat, confused and unable to walk. The fire was spreading around him. Spandle pulled the driver out of the vehicle and then 50 feet away from the fire. He bandaged the victim’s head and was stabilizing his neck when Sergeant Murray arrived. Spandle, Sergeant Murray, and Officer David Arnold next picked up the driver and carried him farther away from the fire and placed him behind a police vehicle for additional protection from the intensifying fire.

Spandle continued to provide care to the victim until EMS arrived. Sergeant Murray believes had Miles Spandle not stopped and pulled the driver from his burning vehicle and provided emergency care, the victim would have sustained more severe injuries or even died.

Other Public Safety Civilian Partnership Awards were presented to Kurtis H. Brown, nominated by Missouri State Highway Patrol; Lendon J. Blanchard, Evan G. Clements and Christopher A. Runion, nominated by Lamar Police Department; Jayden Groves, nominated by St. Louis Fire Department; and Brody J. von Brethorst, nominated by Cedar County Sheriff’s Office

Medal of Valor: Missouri’s highest award recognizing public safety officers who exhibit exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness and presence of mind, and unusual swiftness of action, regardless of his or her personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect human life.

Medal of Valor awards went to Jason M. Weggemann and Ronald R. Burgess, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office; Michael J. Ottolini and Lee Alex Clawson, Jefferson City Police Department; Heather M. Anderson, Springfield Police Department; Jason A. Ashby, Missouri State Highway Patrol; John K. Gresco II, St. Charles County Police Department; Ryan W. Broeker, Devin R. Kitrel and Andrew C. Mattaline, Chesterfield Police Department.

Governor’s Medal: Awarded to a group of public safety officers in recognition of acts above and beyond the call of normal duty during a critical incident in which the collective performance of the group was essential to the successful resolution of the incident.

Mitchell D. Griffin, Dustin P. Hitchcock and Michael W. Mertz, St. John Police Department; Chad W. Hembree, Woodson Terrace Police Department; and Darion Meeks, Kinloch Fire Department.

Nominations are now open for heroic acts performed during 2021 and must be received by February 28, 2022. The nominating form is available on the Missouri Department of Public Safety website at https://dps.mo.gov/medal/.

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