Photo/Story Gallery 2004
Medal of Valor Honorees
Recently, four troopers received the prestigious Medal of Valor Award — the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by the Florida Highway Patrol. Sergeant J. D. Johnson, Corporal Rick Warden, Trooper Milton Brown, and Trooper Archie McNair were recognized by the FHP for their personal and distinguished acts of heroism, rising above and beyond the call of duty.
Pictured L to R: Sergeant J.D. Johnson, Trooper Milton Brown, Corporal Rick Warden, and Trooper Archie McNair.
On November 9, 2004, surrounded by their family, friends and co-workers, Sergeant Johnson, Corporal Warden, and Trooper Brown were presented with the Medal of Valor Award for their heroic actions in the line of duty.
Pictured right, Troop A Honorees and their families.
The ceremony took place at the Agriculture facility next to the FHP station in Marianna. Troop A Commander Major Randy Brown and FHP Director Colonel Christopher A. Knight were on hand to make the presentations.
Sergeant Johnson was instrumental in bringing a dangerous situation to a conclusion when he staked out and subsequently pursued armed bank robbery suspects in Jackson County on December 27, 2002. While receiving gunfire, Sergeant Johnson placed himself in peril and was able to stop the suspect’s vehicle before any innocent persons were injured. Due to the quick thinking and brave action of this officer this incident was brought to a successful and safe conclusion. Sergeant Johnson was recognized by the Patrol as December 02’s Trooper of the Month.
Corporal Warden and Trooper Brown responded to a shooting incident in Bonifay, Florida on March 27, 2004. Officer Stephen Lee, a Bonifay police officer, had just responded to a call at a residence which ultimately turned violent. The officer was shot by a subject at the house he responded to and called for assistance. Hearing of this, Corporal Warden immediately responded and notified Trooper Brown via radio. Trooper Brown was nearby and immediately responded as well. Corporal Warden arrived first to find Officer Lee shot and on the ground. The suspect was standing in his yard with an assault rifle aimed in his direction. Corporal Warden then placed his patrol car in between the suspect and the officer in order to protect him. He then fired at the suspect to protect them both. Trooper Brown also arrived and parked in a strategic location not far from Warden. Brown then exited his vehicle with his shotgun and began working his way towards the front of the suspect’s house via the ditch on the opposite side of the street. By then the suspect had retreated inside his house and was firing at both troopers repeatedly with the rifle. They returned gunfire as needed during the course of the entire event until its conclusion. Both are credited with helping to save Lee’s life by placing themselves in great danger to assist their fellow officer. They were named as co-Troopers of the month for March 2004.
On October 29, 2004, at a ceremony held in his honor, Trooper Archie McNair was presented with the Medal of Valor Award. The ceremony was conducted at Troop L’s Davie station where Major Miguel Guzman praised Trooper McNair for his heroic actions that saved the life of fellow Auxiliary Trooper Lt. James Porter.
Pictured L to R: FHPA Lt. James Porter, Trooper Archie McNair, and Major Miguel Guzman.
Trooper McNair, a 23-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol, is assigned to Troop L – Lantana, where he serves as his troop’s background investigator.
Sergeant J.D. Johnson, Corporal Rick Warden, Trooper Milton Brown, and Trooper Archie McNair are to be commended for their acts of heroism and are hereby recognized as most worthy recipients of the Florida Highway Patrol’s most distinguished award, the Medal of Valor.
Read more about Sergeant Johnson’s story:
Read more about Trooper McNair’s story:
FHP troopers honored for valor
Published on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 in the Jackson County Floridian
During an emotional ceremony held Tuesday morning in Marianna, three members of Florida Highway Patrol Troop “A,” based in Jackson County, received the state’s highest honor.
Accepting Medals of Valor for risking their lives in the line of duty were Sergeant J.D. Johnson, Corporal Rick Warden and Trooper Milton Brown.
Florida Highway Patrol Director Col. Christopher Knight called the members of Troop A “some of the finest personnel in the state.” He said that over the past year six members of the unit have been named as “Trooper of the Month” for the State of Florida.
Knight said Brown would be receiving his second Medal of Valor, the first presented to him for pulling a motorist from a burning vehicle.
Johnson received his medal for being “instrumental in bringing a dangerous situation to a conclusion.”
Knight said that on Dec. 27, 2002, Johnson staked out and subsequently pursued two armed bank robbery suspects in Jackson County. He said Johnson placed himself in imminent danger by continuing the pursuit he was under fire.
“One round came into the patrol car hitting right behind his head,” the colonel told the crowd. He said one of the suspects took his own life and the other was captured.
“He is to be commended for his act of heroism,” Knight said.
Johnson received a framed certificate for his “Personal Act of Heroism,” a framed Medal of Valor and a Medal of Valor which was pinned on his uniform by his wife, Laurie.
Warden and Brown received their medals for their involvement in helping save the life of Bonifay Police Officer Stephen Lee. Lee responded to a call for assistance from someone at a Bonifay residence. The officer was shot by a subject at the residence who had an assault rifle. He called for help with Brown and Warden responding.
Knight said “both are credited with helping save Lee’s life by placing themselves in great danger to assist their fellow officer.”
When the call for help went out, Corp. Warden immediately responded and notified Brown by radio. Brown was near-by and responded as well, Knight said. Warden found Lee on the ground.
“The suspect was standing in his yard with an assault rifle aimed in his direction. Corp. Warden then placed his patrol car in between the suspect and the officer in order to protect him,” Knight told those at the ceremony. Trooper Brown also arrived and placed his car in “a strategic location not far from Warden.”
Brown then exited his vehicle with his shotgun and began working his way towards the front of the suspect’s house via a ditch located on the opposite side of the street.
The suspect had retreated inside his house and “fired repeatedly at both officers,” Knight said.
A tactical team arrived at the scene and fired gas into the residence. They found the suspect on the floor, “unresponsive.”
Knight said the two troopers went above and beyond the call of duty.
Brown and Warden each received a framed certificate for a “Personal Act of Heroism,” a framed Medal of Valor and a Medal of Valor. Brown’s wife, Genevelyn, and Warden’s wife, Sherry, each pinned the medal on their husband’s uniform.
Lee and his parents, Cindy and Ronald Lee, were present for the ceremony.
“If it had not been for them being there, things would have ended a lot different,” Lee said. “I will never be able to repay them.” He said by the time the two troopers arrived he was “pretty well out of it” because of his wounds. Lee said there is a bond between the three of them that will never be broken.
Warden, a 23-year veteran of FHP, said he had spent a lot of time wondering “where I am and what I was doing” and that he has realized that “something is in control that is a lot bigger than me.”
He gave credit to a “higher power.” “Because of that, Stephen is still with us. That day changed my life,” he said.
Brown, a 20-year veteran of FHP, also gave credit to a higher power for his being in Bonifay on the day Lee was shot and needed help.
“There were so many things at work,” he explained. The trooper was supposed to be at home, he said. The two officers had worked a traffic fatality with Warden heading to Bonifay to make a death announcement. Brown said something told him he needed to go with Warden.
“I just felt an urging that I needed to go. That’s why I happened to be there that day,” Brown explained. “I did not have to go, but just felt like I needed to. Now I know where that urging came from.”
Johnson, a 21-year FHP veteran, said he feels great about the honor.
“It is nice to be recognized by your peers,” he said. He said he does his job “not just to protect the people of the State of Florida, but those in the community where I live.” He said there are a “limited number of officers” to respond to a call.
“I go to see what the Highway Patrol can do to assist,” he added.
All three troopers expressed that they were simply doing their job.
“You try to do what is safe and right for the the citizens of Florida,” Johnson said.