Governor Tom Vilsack on Tuesday presented four Iowans with the “Sullivan Brothers Award of Valor.” The award is given to peace officers or firefighters who perform heroic acts while on the job. One recipient was Denmark fire captain Steve Pumphrey, who rescued a five-year-old child from an abandoned well last march. He says three firefighters arrived about the same time, and he jumped in and retrieved the boy from 8 to 10 feet of water where he’d been hanging onto a water pipe but was tiring fast and about to let go. Pumphrey says he was surprised hear from the governor’s office that he’d be receiving the award of valor. He figures he just did what any other firefighter would. Pymphrey’s advice to parents about keeping kids safe revolves around the handling of abandoned water wells is “get good caps on ’em, good lids”Governor Vilsack also honored Boone County Reserve Sheriff’s Deputy Cory Reutter for helping to rescue a man from a burning car, and Hawarden Firefighters Aaron Boyer and John Degen for helping to free a woman from a jeep that crashed in a gravel pit full of water. The governor says in both cases the accident victims suffered less severe injuries because of these men’s actions. The governor arranged to have the annual Governor’s Medal of Valor renamed for the five Waterloo brothers killed in World War Two after the U.S. Mint turned down a proposal to have them pictured on the state quarter.
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