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Firefighter Brian D. Rothell (Chesterfield Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Chesterfield, Virginia)

Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor

On March 25, 2006, Firefighter Brian D. Rothell of the Chesterfield Fire and Emergency Medical Services in Virginia was riding his bike off-duty by the James River. Firefighter Rothell's attention was drawn to a man climbing up on the railing of the bridge over the river. To ensure the individual's safety, Firefighter Rothell decided to monitor the individual. Shortly after, the individual flung himself over the rail of the bridge. Firefighter Rothell grabbed the man by the sweatshirt and tried securing him, but the man was too heavy and continued slipping toward the river. Firefighter Rothell held the man with one hand as he reached through the railing of the bridge to try to secure his grip. While the individual struggled, Firefighter Rothell felt the cloth tear in his hands. As other individuals came onto the scene, they held the man while Firefighter Rothell climbed over the railing and created a leg lock between the bridge and the drainage pipe under the bridge. Dangling from one arm and leg, Firefighter Rothell pulled the man up to the others waiting above, whom then pulled the man to safety. Firefighter Rothell showed bravery and swiftness of action in reaching out-and hanging on-to save the life of another.

Date Published: September 9, 2020