Time and time again, I have seen first responders demonstrate acts of bravery and heroism as they searched and located a lost child, responded to domestic violence calls, completed water rescues in stormy weather, performed life-saving actions at car crashes and overdoses, fought forest and structural fires, and more.

I entered the world of public safety as a 21-year-old and served in municipal and federal law enforcement with caring, courageous, and dedicated professionals.

In 2013, I was appointed to the Bozeman Police Commission and a member of the Special Service Awards Committee. Our committee reviews nominations for the Medal of Valor, Lifesaving Award, Distinguished Service Award, Citizen Award of Valor, and Citizen Commendation Award.

It is a humbling experience to review these nominations that call for details of the incident leading to the nomination, the nominated person’s actions, and description of why the award is merited.

The Medal of Valor is awarded to an employee for an act of valor for actions involving bravery, courage and or/heroism and which involves extreme risk of life to an officer, officers, or other person or persons.

The Lifesaving Award is awarded to an employee who performs life-saving actions or who applies techniques that result in the saving or sustaining of human life.

The Distinguished Service Award is awarded to an employee for exceptional performance in a duty of great responsibility or of critical importance to law enforcement.

The next Bozeman Police Department Annual Awards Ceremony will be in April 2020. Make it a point to be there to celebrate, honor, and recognize the exemplary actions and deeds of these offices and citizens.

I also want to acknowledge and thank first responder’s spouses and their families for their love and support of the men and women who have chosen public safety as a profession.

Rick Gale