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Uncommon Valor

Chamber to honor first responders; Weissman posthumously receives Gold Medal.

The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce will recognize 21 first responders from the Alexandria Police Department, Fire Department and Office of the Sheriff at the 27th Annual Valor Awards to be held June 13 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Receiving the highest honor will be Paramedic Joshua Weissman, who will posthumously be presented with a Gold Medal for his heroic actions and exceptional performance in the line of duty.

On Feb. 8, 2012, Weissman was part of a response team dispatched to the site of a car fire on Interstate 395 near Glebe Road. Upon hearing a report that someone was trapped in the burning vehicle, Weissman climbed over what he believed to be a guardrail separating the two highways in an effort to reach the victim. On what was a cold and icy night, he fell 30 feet between the two bridge spans into the waters and rocky bottom of Four Mile Creek.

Extraordinary efforts by the crew of Rescue 206, EMS Supervisor Kelsea Bonkoski and Paramedics Charlie Cura and Robert Honaker allowed Weissman to survive the incident and provide an opportunity for his family to gather with him before he succumbed to his injuries the next day.

For their acts of heroism that day, Bonkoski, Cura, Honaker and four others will receive Silver Medals.

Also receiving an award will be Officer Peter Laboy, who was shot in the head Feb. 27 during a routine traffic stop in Old Town.

Still undergoing extensive rehabilitation, Laboy will be present to accept a Silver Award for his skill in negotiating a volatile and lengthy suicide situation with an armed subject in the 5300 block of Taney Avenue on Oct. 4, 2012.

Presented by Inova Alexandria Hospital, WJLA/ABC7 anchor Alison Starling will emcee the event. For more information on the Valor Awards, call 703-549-1000 or visit www.alexchamber.com.