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Larsen Given Medal

By Staff | Aug 5, 2009

New Martinsville Police Chief Tim Cecil, left, presents NMPD Patrolman Don Larsen with a life saving medal from the West Virginia Chiefs of Police Association. (Photo by Amy Witschey)

A special life saving medal was presented to New Martinsville Police Department Patrolman Don Larsen during Monday evening’s city council meeting.

Police Chief Tim Cecil explained that the West Virginia Chiefs of Police Association had given Larsen a life saver award at their annual fall conference and training session held in September 2008. However, Kevin Gessler, president of the Chiefs of Police Association, took the award a step further and made it into a medal, which was presented Monday.

Larsen’s heroic actions happened on Jan. 4, 2008, when he rescued two people from a mobile home filled with carbon monoxide. Larsen answered a call at 1 Joe Lane, in what is known as the Brooklyn area of New Martinsville, and found three unconscious adults. Two females were inside the trailer where a black soot-like material permeated the atmosphere.

Larsen entered the trailer and dragged the female victims outside to the porch of the mobile home where they were attended to by Wetzel County EMS Director Carla McBee. A third male victim had made it to the porch before he had collapsed.

Larsen not only pulled the victims from the trailer, but accompanied them to the emergency room at Wetzel County Hospital and remained with them until they were taken by helicopter to Pittsburgh Medical Center, returned to the trailer to take photographic evidence, then finally he went for treatment as he had elevated levels of carbon monoxide in his body.

Council also recognized Patrolman Russell Smitley for his actions on July 26. Councilman Steve Pallisco, chairman of the police committee, said Smitley was doing what he was supposed to be doing, patrolling, when he noticed some people loading a tractor at Bridgeport Equipment and Tool. Thinking it was an odd time for the activity, 1:15 a.m., he investigated it and the people fled, even crossing the bridge to Ohio. “That was over and above,” said Pallisco.

Smitley said the theft he caught was the third that night at Bridgeport by the perpetrators. The other two were at 7 and 9 p.m. He noted the excellent work of the police dispatcher.

“Marci Bordenkircher did a bang up job that night,” said Smitley.

Finally, Pallisco also recognized Dispatcher Rick Estep and Detective Donnie Harris for their work on seeking grants so the department can do their jobs even better.