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Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown (right) and KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer presented Debbie Ward the Governor’s Medal of Valor on behalf of her brother-in-law, the late Kentucky State Police Trooper Joe Ward.
The award was presented on May 24 in Frankfort.
The award is the highest honor that can be bestowed on an officer of the agency for conspicuous heroism in the line of duty under circumstances of extreme personal hazard. It is awarded only by order of the governor and only in cases when three conditions are met: the officer acted in the face of extreme personal danger without hesitation or regard for his own life or well being, the officer undertook the action willingly and with full knowledge of the grave risks and the act of heroism was so clearly above and beyond the call of duty and so conspicuous an example of personal courage that any lesser award would be considered both inadequate and inappropriate.
The honor stems from a 1973 incident on the Pennyrile Parkway in Christian County when Trooper Ward sacrificed his life while pushing a subject out of the path of an oncoming vehicle.
A native of Williamstown, Ward was assigned to KSP Post 2 in Madisonville at the time of the incident.