Cotton Members Selected For 2021 Public Safety Valor Awards
The Greater Fayetteville Chamber hosted the 2021 Annual Public Safety Valor Awards on October 19, 2021. This event was presented by Highland Construction and Restoration and Manna Church to show community appreciation to our first responders in the City, County and at Fort Bragg.
Awardees were nominated by their chief or agency head from a range of law enforcement, fire/rescue, and emergency management agencies that serve Cumberland County for the awards found below. Incidents occurred within Cumberland County in the prior year, or involved first responders representing a local public safety agency.
The highest award for valor and heroism. Awarded in cases in which a public safety official knowingly places themselves at risk of death or extreme serious bodily harm in the performance of an official act.
To be awarded in recognition of official acts taken in a life-threatening situation where an individual’s life is in jeopardy, either medically or physically.
Award of Merit
To recognize outstanding public safety work which demonstrates initiative, ingenuity, and/or diligence in the performance of his/her duties. Ex: Creating a new program or process, solving a cold case, detective work over a long period of time on a major initiative, etc.
Recipients were nominated by their respective agencies, and nominations were reviewed by a layperson panel consisting of the event’s top sponsors, which include Highland Construction & Restoration, Manna Church, and Cape Fear Valley Health System.
Engineer Waymon Hudson was traveling down Cumberland Road after leaving his place of business, H&H Customs. He happened upon a wreck involving two vehicles. He stopped to see if he could offer assistance while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive. As he approached the first vehicle, he observed a man with an obvious leg injury who was removed by other bystanders. He moved to the second vehicle which was a truck that had smoke coming from the engine. Once he reached this vehicle, he observed two people in the truck with fire coming into the cab of the truck. Hudson removed the passenger through the rear passenger door and moved her to a safe area. As he tried to help the driver out of the truck, he noticed the driver’s foot was caught by the brake pedal. Hudson summoned assistance from another bystander to help untangle the driver’s foot and finish removing him from the cab which was now on fire. Because of the heroic actions of Engineer Hudson while he was off duty, both individuals survived the ordeal.
While working with Fayetteville Fire Department, Firefighter Dustin Powell and two others were responding to a residential structure fire when they were advised there were two individuals in a rear bedroom, with one being bed-ridden. With smoke billowing throughout the structure and into the bedroom FF Powell and his team were able to rescue both occupants, lifting the mother via a sheet and handing her through a window to awaiting police officers. FF Powell is also a member of Cotton Fire Rescue.
In November of 2020 FF Jared Mason was part of a rescue response by Beaver Dam Station 26 involving a car that had been swept off the road due to flooding from several days of rain. In the vehicle were two women and a dog, one of which indicated she had medical problems and would have problems walking. FF Mason and the team of Beaver Dam Volunteer Fire Department were able to rescue both occupants (and the dog) before the flood waters nearly completely submerged the vehicle. FF Mason is also a member of Cotton Fire Rescue.
Awards Of Merit
Robert OBriant is a dedicated volunteer who spends countless hours training and responding to calls with the Cotton Fire and Rescue Station. He has taken time off from his full-time job to assist with the transition by the Cumberland County Fire Chief’s Association to a new reporting system which included transferring years of valuable data from the old system to the new one. He attended extensive training sessions and helped to train other volunteer and paid staff at Cotton Fire and Rescue Station. His knowledge of the new system quickly spread to other stations and he was quick to offer assistance wherever needed.