The Virginia Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) has recognized Judson Smith of Hanover County Emergency Communications for Outstanding Individual Performance during a critical incident.
Smith was honored for his actions while working the Fire/EMS Radio on the night of October 11, 2018 when Hanover firefighter Lt. Brad Clark was killed and three other Hanover firefighters were critically injured.
Jada Lee, Awards Chairman, praised Smith for rising to the occasion when his department experienced this line of duty tragedy.
“Judson Smith, above all others, is recognized for his professional handling of this incident,” Lee said. “Judson stands out among his peers for his leadership. The way that he handled the storm incident, the mayday call, fielded additional requests for resources without hesitation, and voiced through his calm demeanor and tenor, reassurance to the responders who were coming to the aid of their fallen and injured comrades was remarkable. Judson’s steady voice was the light in the darkness of that evening. His calm within the chaos was amazing and he never lost his focus as the event evolved.”
Hanover Emergency Communications Deputy Director Charlie Udriet, also present at the May 9 ceremony, stated, “I do not believe it was a coincidence that Judson was working the Fire/EMS radio that night. The manner in which he handled this critical incident was exceptional, and beyond anything I have witnessed during my career of over 45 years.”
Also recognized during the awards ceremony were the members of the Hanover County Emergency Communications shift, who were awarded a plaque for Outstanding Performance by a Team during a Critical Incident.
Lee stated, “The professionalism and actions of everyone working in the Hanover 9-1-1 center that particular evening was commendable. The team handled numerous requests, remained focused and dedicated to their assigned tasks, even in the mist of this tragic event. They continued to work knowing a line of duty death and other serious injuries had occurred. Many knew the Firefighters involved and some were spouses of Firefighters, but they put aside their personal emotions and remained at their posts – going above and beyond the normal line of duty expected. The love and support they demonstrated to all was truly amazing.”
Members of the Emergency Communications Critical Incident shift recognized by APCO on October 11, 2018 . They are joined by Hanover Fire/EMS personnel including representatives of Henry Station #6.
Team members recognized were Stacey Adams, Cheryl Buchanan, Julie Cooper, Chelsea Davis, Kayla DeNapoli, Eddie Eacho, Nathan Elswick, Janie Hayes, Shannon Harrell, Kim Kinker, Casey Lawrence, Liz Limerick, Preston Main, Kim Mills, Megan Nixon, Judson Smith, Katie Sprouse and Nick Tragesser.
“They each lived up to the Department motto of, ‘HERE TO SERVE’, and serve they did – with distinction,” Udriet said.
APCO is the largest network of public safety communications professionals in the world and has chapters and affiliates in all 50 states plus Australia, Canada, the Caribbean and the United Kingdom. The Virginia Chapter is the third largest in the nation with over 1,000 members.