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Missouri Troopers Honor 2008 Heroes

Colonel James F. Keathley, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, is proud to announce 13 employees were honored at the Patrol’s 19th annual awards and The MASTERS banquet on April 18, 2009. Held at the Holiday Inn Select Executive Center in Columbia, MO, family, friends, and The MASTERS members gathered to honor the heroes of 2008. Major J. Brett Johnson, Q/SSB, served as emcee; Assistant Attorney General Kevin M.

Zoellner, Missouri Attorney General’s Office, was the keynote speaker; Troop A’s Honor Guard presented the colors while CTE Roger Heard, Troop H, played the bagpipes; Cpl. Andrew A. “Andy” Henry, Troop H, sang the National Anthem; Patrol Chaplain Phil Dooley, from Columbia, MO, gave the invocation and benediction; and Colonel Keathley presented the awards. Mr.

Doug Libla, president of The MASTERS, presented The MASTERS Public Service Award. Listed are the descriptions and awards:

Trooper Phillip G. Sarakas, Troop C

On November 29, 2008, Trooper Phillip G. Sarakas was off duty and attending a family birthday party at the Old Times Cafe in Fredericktown, Missouri.

He observed an elderly female stand up from a table where she had been seated. Although she did not display the universal sign for choking, she was obviously in distress and unable to speak. Trooper Sarakas immediately approached the elderly female and verified she needed assistance. He then instructed his wife to call 9-1-1 and proceeded to apply an abdominal thrust three times. The elderly woman was then able to gasp for air. An ambulance arrived and transported her to a local hospital. She has since recovered.

Trooper Corey W. Tucker, Troop E

On January 7, 2008, Trooper Corey W. Tucker arrived on the scene of a traffic crash to assist Trooper Andrew B. Ward. The vehicle involved in the crash was on fire and sitting off the west side of the roadway. Trooper Tucker could see Trooper Ward leaning in through the driver’s side window as he attempted to free the driver’s foot, which was trapped beneath the brake pedal. The fire and smoke had surrounded Trooper Ward’s body.

Realizing Trooper Ward was in immediate danger, Trooper Tucker grabbed the back of Trooper Ward’s duty belt and pulled him from the burning vehicle.

He then discharged his fire extinguisher through the driver’s door window to control the fire, as Trooper Ward proceeded to the passenger side of the vehicle to remove the driver, whose foot he had freed.

2008 Benjamin Oliver Booth Officer of the Year Sergeant Blaine L. Adams, Troop E

Sergeant Blaine L. Adams is a 21-year veteran of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He currently serves as the zone commander of Zone 5, Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, and North Scott counties. Because he supervises six other Patrol members, more than half of his time is spent fulfilling administrative duties.  In addition, Sergeant Adams is a Drug Recognition Expert certified instructor and trains others. He is a course administrator who monitors these types of classes to ensure they follow standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Despite his busy schedule and the amount of time he spends as a supervisor, Sergeant Adams continues to lead his zone in enforcement contacts. In 2008, he made 479 arrests, of which 35 were arrests for driving while intoxicated. Sergeant Adams also worked 55 traffic crashes, which led to 22 arrests. On November 9, 2008, Sergeant Adams made his 1,000th career driving while intoxicated arrest.

Trooper Andrew B. Ward, Troop E

On January 7, 2008, Trooper Andrew B. Ward responded to an injury traffic crash on Route W in Butler County. When he arrived at the scene, he discovered a white 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass off the west side of the roadway. The vehicle was on fire and the driver appeared trapped inside.

Trooper Ward attempted to remove the driver from the vehicle and discovered her foot was wedged under the brake pedal. Without regard to his own safety, Trooper Ward then dove into the vehicle through the driver’s door window, reached to the floorboard, and began trying to free the driver’s foot. As flames and heavy smoke surrounded his upper body, Trooper Ward was able to free the driver’s foot. Trooper Corey Tucker grabbed Trooper Ward’s duty belt and pulled him from the vehicle. Without hesitation, Trooper Ward then ran to the passenger side and with the help of several citizens removed the driver from the burning vehicle. Trooper Ward sustained minor injuries from the fire and experienced minor breathing difficulty from smoke inhalation. The woman he pulled from the vehicle has recovered from the incident.

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