WEST VIRGINIA (LOOTPRESS) – On Tuesday, July 12th, 2022, the West Virginia First Responder Honor Board met for the second time to consider two additional nominees for the Medal of Valor.
The Board voted unanimously to submit the names of fallen Nicholas County Deputy, Thomas Baker, and fallen Gassaway Volunteer Firefighter, John Forbush, to the legislature for consideration.
On May 1st, 2022, Firefighter Forbush lost his life while attempting to rescue two individuals from a car that had driven into the Elk River in Sutton in an apparent murder-suicide.
Firefighter Forbush was working approximately one mile from the scene and heard the call over his radio. Firefighter Forbush rushed to the scene, assessed the situation, and immediately sprang into action to rescue the two victims from the vehicle. Unfortunately, Firefighter Forbush was unable to rescue the individuals inside the vehicle, and he ultimately gave his life in an attempt to save the lives of others.
On Friday, June 3rd, 2022, Deputy Baker what shot and killed while responding to a location in Burch River. The incident also resulted in another Deputy being shot in the leg and one of the two suspects being shot and killed. Deputy Baker responded to this call with bravery and courage, and paid the ultimate sacrifice while trying to keep his community safe from harm.
“Yesterday, I was honored to listen to the heroic stories of the Medal of Valor nominees,” said Captain T.J. Dillon, Chairperson of the Honor Board. “The Board members are excited to have the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the heroes of West Virginia. Their service and dedication to this wonderful state will forever be honored and remembered.”
The West Virginia First Responder Honor Board was created within the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security as an advisory board to the Legislature. The purpose of the Board is to recognize and honor first responders who have “distinguished themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their lives above and beyond the call of duty in the performance of their duties to be awarded the Medal of Valor”. W.Va. Code § 29-32-2. After the Board votes, the nominations are referred to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House so that each representative body can confirm the awards during the 2023 legislative session.