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Chamber Awards Spotlight Acts of Valor

Laboy, Weismann among honorees for heroism.

Police Chief Earl Cook, Sheriff Dana Lawhorne and Fire Chief Adam Thiel are joined onstage by Mayor Bill Euille, Chamber of Commerce CEO John Long, Chamber chairman John Renner and emcee Alison Starling for a photo with the 2013 Valor Awards honorees June 13 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Old Town.

Police Chief Earl Cook, Sheriff Dana Lawhorne and Fire Chief Adam Thiel are joined onstage by Mayor Bill Euille, Chamber of Commerce CEO John Long, Chamber chairman John Renner and emcee Alison Starling for a photo with the 2013 Valor Awards honorees June 13 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Old Town. Photo by Jeanne Theismann.

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

More than 275 attendees were on hand as 21 awards were presented, including a Gold Medal presented posthumously to EMT Joshua Weissman 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. On what was a cold and icy night, he fell 30 feet between two bridge spans in an attempt to reach the burning vehicle. Despite extraordinary efforts by members of Rescue 206, Weismann succumbed to his injuries the following day.

During a sobering presentation, EMS Supervisor Kelsea Bonkowski accepted the Gold Medal, one of only 31 presented in the history of the awards, on Weissman's behalf.

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

The crowd rose to its feet as Laboy, still undergoing extensive rehabilitation, accepted a Silver Award for his skill in negotiating a volatile and lengthy suicide situation with an armed subject in the 5300 block of Taney Ave. on Oct. 4, 2012.

“There was no doubt he was going to put his uniform on and be here today,” said Laboy's wife Suzanne. “The men and women here today are his family and he misses them all tremendously.”

This is the second Valor Award for Laboy, who was awarded a Silver Medal in 2002.

“It's an honor to be here today,” Laboy said. “And I am thankful to everyone for the support shown to me and my family.”