South Charleston, West Virginia – On Wednesday, March 19, 2014, in a private ceremony at West Virginia State Police Headquarters, Colonel C. R. “Jay” Smithers presented awards to uniformed and civilian members of the West Virginia State Police.
“These awards provide sterling examples as to why the State Police is West Virginia’s preeminent law enforcement agency,” said Secretary Joseph Thornton of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. “I proudly congratulate each recipient.”
Corporal Daniel W. Burge, of the Parsons Detachment (Lifesaving Award) – On June 28, 2013, Corporal Daniel W. Burge and Trooper First Class J. E. Kopec were performing road patrol on US Route 219 in Tucker County when they came upon a Chrysler PT Cruiser that had just crashed and was overturned. Corporal Burge observed an elderly female hanging upside down in the vehicle and due to the constriction of the seatbelt was experiencing difficulty in breathing. Corporal Burge climbed in the rear hatch of the vehicle and observed that the female was being asphyxiated due to her own body weight pushing against the seatbelt. Corporal Burge supported the victim’s neck and shoulders and Trooper First Class Kopec cut the seatbelt loose and lowered her to the roof allowing her to breathe normally. Upon the arrival of fire and EMS personnel, Corporal Burge stayed with the victim to keep her calm and covered her with protective material as she was extricated from the vehicle. The victim of the crash was learned to have had several broken bones and internal bleeding as a result of the crash. Corporal Burge’s quick action and disregard for his own safety played a vital role in the lifesaving efforts of the victim in this crash.