The water was swiftly rising at the intersection of Reston's Stuart Mill Road and Birdfoot Lane as deadly flash flooding surged throughout Fairfax County on Sept. 8, 2011. Two vehicles stranded at the intersection were quickly swept out to a tree line 150 feet into the water with a family of three and a single driver still inside.
With no safety lines or rescue boats available, Fire Station 18 first responders Lt. Rodney Vaughn, Master Technician Anthony Doran, Technician Lawrence Mullin and Master Technician Christopher Williams battled the waist deep and rapidly rising water and debris to bring the occupants to safety. On March 21, the four were recognized for their heroism with Bronze Medals of Honor at the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce Valor Awards.
"Having done this for a number of years, it just reinforces that when things are at their worst, our first responders are at their best."
— Doug Brammer, chair of the Valor Scholarship Fund
At the event held at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner, the Chamber recognized 108 of the county's first responders at the 34th Annual Valor Awards. Members of the Fairfax County Police Department, Sheriff's Office, Fire and Rescue Department, as well as from the Towns of Herndon and Vienna, were given awards.
Thirty-five responders were given Bronze or Silver Medals of Valor, and their children will receive post-secondary education scholarships from the Valor Scholarship Fund, a 501(c)3 foundation. To date, more than $250,000 in scholarships has been awarded.
The flash flooding of Sept. 8, a result of 6 to 10 inches of rain that deluged the area, brought numerous calls for water-related rescues and 18 Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel were honored for their efforts that day. The firefighters saved dozens of lives by rescuing people who were trapped by rising water, in danger of washing downstream or were otherwise trapped by the severe weather conditions.
The Chamber also awarded 48 lifesaving awards and 25 certificates of valor during the ceremony.
"We have heard some remarkable accounts of heroism today," said Doug Brammer, chair of the Valor Scholarship Fund. "Having done this for a number of years, it just reinforces that when things are at their worst, our first responders are at their best."