VAN BUREN, MO (KFVS) - Four National Park Service Rangers from Van Buren, Missouri were awarded the Valor Award for their heroic actions saving 30 lives during the historic floods of 2017. Joshua Gibbs, Patrick Johnson, Lindel Gregory, and Daniel Newberry received the awards.
This is the highest honor in the Department of the Interior, according to the office of Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO).
"When historic flooding hit southern Missouri last year, these four brave Rangers risked their lives to navigate treacherous waters and rescue civilians from oncoming destruction," said Rep. Smith. "Their heroic actions saved the lives of 30 stranded men, women, and children as entire houses were swept away. The tremendous life-saving efforts by Joshua Gibbs, Patrick Johnson, Lindel Gregory, and Daniel Newberry have made the entire state of Missouri proud, and I am glad to see these brave men from Van Buren receive the recognition they deserve from Secretary Zinke."
In April 2017, areas around the Ozark National Scenic Riverways were flooded and park rangers made around 30 rescues.
"Lives were saved because these four rangers risked their own lives to help Missourians in need," Senator Claire McCaskill remarked about this award. "No one hopes for disasters like the historic floods we saw last year, but I'm grateful that we have such brave and selfless first responders in our communities—and I proudly join all Missourians in commending them for their bravery."
"When massive flooding threatened the lives of people in the Van Buren community, these park rangers put their lives on the line to bring them to safety," Senator Roy Blunt said. "I'm grateful for their heroic action, and the important work our nation's park rangers do every day."
Presiding Carter County Commissioner Donald Black said, "These men are heroes. When I saw what they did, and how dangerous those flood waters were for them to keep going back out and rescuing our stranded residents, my hat is off to them."
The award ceremony was held in Washington D.C.