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Springfield Fire Department News Releases

Posted on: November 30, 2016

Springfield Firefighter receives Medal of Valor for water rescues


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE The Springfield Fire Department is proud to announce Firefighter Michael Kuss is the recipient of a Medal of Valor for a swiftwater rescue incident to which he responded on May 29th, 2015. During the incident, FF Kuss, along with Rescue Specialist Marc Becker and Logan-Rogersville Firefighters Grant Peters and Roy Harris helped rescue a family of 5 swept away during a major storm and flooding in the area. This rescue was one of 10 that FF Kuss was involved in during 2015. 

The Medal of Valor is 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. The Medal of Valor is awarded annually by Missouri's Governor after recommendations are submitted by the Medal of Valor Review Board. FF Kuss received his award in Jefferson City on November 28, 2016.

Here is an excerpt from FF Kuss' nomination:

As midnight approached on May 29, 2015, following a major storm and flash flooding, the Springfield Fire Department Water Rescue Team responded to a mutual aid call from the Logan-Rogersville Fire Protection District. A vehicle had been swept off a bridge over the James River east of Springfield. In the pitch dark, two parents and their three children were desperately fighting for their lives against the swift, churning floodwater by clinging to trees. When the Springfield Fire team arrived, the victims had been holding on for 30 minutes and were yelling that they could not last much longer. A boat rescue attempt was immediately launched, piloted by Rescue Specialist Marc Becker. In the darkness, and with floodwaters roiling, the team’s single boat reached the victims. However, the boat did not have room for all of the victims and the adults were losing the strength to hold on and remain afloat. Firefighter Kuss volunteered to stay behind in the water with the adults as the three children were placed in life vests, pulled into the boat, and moved to the safety of the shore. With their resistance flagging in the frantic situation, Firefighter Kuss’s calm support and instructions for the adults was critical in saving the parents until the rescue boat could return and reunite them with their children on the shore.

 # # # For more information, contact the Springfield Fire Department media line at  417-874-2301 | [email protected]

Download Kuss headshot.
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