The Valor Awards

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Valor. The very word means great courage in the face of danger. For five years now, the Gwinnett business community has recognized the county”s outstanding public safety professionals no matter how small or large their heroic act.

The Gwinnett Chamber”s sixth annual Valor Awards will take place on March 25 at 11:30 a.m. at the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place. The special reception will honor those in public safety by presenting awards to the men and women who have performed heroic and extraordinary acts to protect and serve Gwinnett.

“Businesses are a vital part of Gwinnett and public safety plays a great part in keeping our community viable and keeping the crime rate down,”# said Chief Deputy Mike Boyd of the Gwinnett Sheriff”s office who serves on the Valor Awards Steering Committee. “It”s also important that our public servants know that the business community recognizes and appreciates their work.”#

When we think of public safety, a SWAT team comes to mind. Or, a high-speed chase down the interstate. But often forgotten are the everyday, unsung heroes who keep Gwinnett safe by simply doing their jobs: calming a panicked 911 caller whose business has been broken into, responding first to the scene of a building fire, even helping a commuter stranded at the side of the road.

“Take for instance the icy conditions we experienced in mid January,”# said Lt. Bill Stevens of the Duluth Police Department. “On days like that, we have both fire and police vehicles on the roads early in the mornings ensuring patches of ice don”t become death traps.”#

This year”s Valor Awards will feature the presentation of the Purple Heart Award, Lifesaving Award, Public Safety Person of the Year, Public Safety Unit of the Year, Communications Office of the Year and Medal of Merit.

The keynote speaker at the sixth annual Valor Awards will be Atlanta Fire Rescue Chief Kelvin Cochran. A 26-year veteran of the Shreveport, Louisiana fire department, Chief Cochran was appointed fire chief of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department in 2008, serving until July 2009 when President Barack Obama appointed him U.S. Fire Administrator for the United States Fire Administration in Washington, D.C.

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