Local firefighters honored

IMG 3430GREENBELT – Prince George’s County officials, along with co-workers, family, and friends, got together at Martin's Crosswinds to honor 68 public safety workers at the 41st Annual Prince George's County Public Safety Valor Awards.

The event held on April 25 featured county police, Fire/EMS, homeland security, corrections officers and the sheriff's department as they were honored for their actions that went beyond the call of duty.

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, III was in attendance and gave thanks to the public safety workers who risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of Prince George's County.

“The safety of our residents is one of my top priorities,” Baker said.

“I am reminded each day that we have the best and brightest protecting our community.”

First Responders received awards ranging from the Silver Medal of Valor, Bronze Medal of Valor and Gold Medal of Valor Award.

Prince George's County Fire Chief Ben Barksdale presented firefighter William K. Gressen with the Silver Medal of Valor Award and named him Firefighter of the Year for rescuing a woman on July 9, 2017, who was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Brandywine.

Gressen was traveling on Crain Highway to work when he noticed light angling up through a densely wooded area.

After stopping, he discovered a car with a woman trapped 125 feet down an embankment buried beneath the foliage.

After calling 911 for help and after making several attempts to reach the car despite being scratched and bleeding from the foliage, he was able to climb on top of the roof which enabled him to see the woman who was pinned against the driver's side door.

Gressen was able to reach into the window through broken glass and moved the woman's head forward and unlatched the seatbelt that was choking her.

With the help of firefighters who arrived on the scene, the woman was removed from the car and was flown to Prince George's Trauma Center where she was treated for a fractured clavicle.

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