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First Responders Honored for Lifesaving Efforts

Members of the Arlington County Police Department, the Arlington County Fire Department, the county’s emergency operations staff and the Arlington Sheriff’s Office were honored today for their efforts and sacrifices while serving the county.

The Arlington Chamber of Commerce held its 33rd annual Valor Awards at the Officer’s Club at Joint Base Myer/Henderson Hall, giving awards for careers of service as well as individual, lifesaving efforts over the past 12 months.

The winners of the afternoon’s most prestigious award, the Valor Award, were ACFD Capt. Craig Brightbill and firefighter/EMTs John Hirte and Chad Aldridge, who were the first responders to the deadly house fire on S. Langley Street last March. Aldridge suffered respiratory and skin burns when he went in first to the house, which was rapidly engulfed in flames.

The three men were staffing Rescue 109, which is one of two apparatus in Arlington currently understaffed.

“Despite the fact that this fire resulted in two civilian casualties and an injured firefighter, the crew of Rescue 109 displayed dedication, courage and perseverance while facing extreme fire conditions, life safety hazards to trapped occupants and themselves, and the overwhelming stress conditions they were presented with,” their commendation, read by WJLA weather director and event master of ceremonies Doug Hill, said.

Among the other winners were Sheriff’s Office Cpls. Phyllis Henderson and Edwin Hill, who, along with Judge Thomas Kelley, saved a man in the Arlington County Courthouse from a heart attack in January; and ACPD K9 Cpl. Aaron Tingle, who helped prevent a rape and capture the suspect in Buckingham last November.

Retired ACPD Chief Doug Scott was also honored after 12 years at the helm of the county’s law enforcement.

“[Scott] will be missed and fondly remembered,” Chamber President/CEO Kate Roche said. “But we all know his legacy will live on in the great work of the Arlington County Police Department.”

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