On March 21, 2018 Inv. Donny Dellinger, Inv. Kyle Goforth, Inv. Ryan Stotts and PSO Daniel Gabryszewski were recognized for their acts of heroism on June 19, 2017. They received medals during a Morganton Department of Public Safety awards ceremony at CoMMA. Chief Ronnie Rector presented the following awards:
- Meritorious Service Citation and Medal to Inv. Dellinger
- Distinguished Service Citation for Valor and Medal for Valor to Inv. Goforth
- Distinguished Service Citation for Valor and Medal for Valor to Inv. Stotts
- Distinguished Service Citation for Valor and Medal for Valor to PSO Gabryszewski
The Meritorious Service Citation is awarded to a member who performs an extremely laudable or extraordinary act. The Distinguished Service Citation for Valor is awarded to a member who performs an act of heroism in the face of personal injury or risk of life. Following are the details of the acts of heroism performed:
On June 14, 2017, at 11:15 am, Morganton Department of Public Safety (MDPS) officers responded to the Catawba River to a location behind Judges Riverside Restaurant. They arrived to find Julie Pedro, two small children, a stroller and a dog in the middle of the river. The stroller was washed away and Ms. Pedro was holding the children tightly along with her dog. A third child had been pulled out of the water prior to the officers arriving.
Inv. Goforth, Inv. Stotts and Inv. Dellinger were three of the first to arrive on the scene. Inv. Stotts and Inv. Goforth jumped into the moving water as the river continued to rise (the water rose an additional 3 feet during the rescue). They were able to grab onto Ms. Pedro, the children and the dog. Inv. Dellinger entered the water to assist with the recovery of the children.
As Inv. Stotts began to carry one of the children to dry ground, PSO Gabryszewski entered the water from a position upstream with a safety line moving to the middle of the river to assist with the rescue. Inv. Stotts brought the one-year old child to safety and then proceeded to go back to the middle of the river and retrieved the four-year old child. PSO Gabryszewski held the rescue line in the middle of the river while Inv. Stotts carried the four-year old to safety. At this point, Inv. Goforth assisted Ms. Pedro and the family dog to safety.