The Gwinnett Chamber VALOR Awards, presented by Mobile Communications America and Motorola Solutions, Inc., honored local public safety officials during a ceremony this morning at the Gas South Convention Center. Recipients were recognized for their exceptional acts of bravery and service to the local community.

“The VALOR Awards recognize true champions in our community and honor those professionals who have dedicated their lives to protecting our own,” said Nick Masino, President & CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber. “Safe communities foster business growth and we are thankful to these brave men and women for their commitment to serve Gwinnett.”

The event celebrated award winners in multiple categories including two civilian life-saving awards, a first in the program’s 18-year history; and one Purple Heart award. The Purple Heart, not awarded every year, is a rare and exceptional honor bestowed on a public safety professional who has been critically injured or killed in the line of duty.

Lt. Bill Stevens was posthumously awarded the VALOR Legacy Award for his lifelong public service, and his work to help launch and grow the VALOR Awards program.

Two Public Safety Civilian Partnership Awards were bestowed for the first time in the VALOR program’s 18-year history to Mrs. Rocio Rocha for her bravery to lead several family members to safety amid a house fire, and Mrs. Patricia Rodriguez who courageously drove a bus full of children away from an active shooter situation, keeping every child free from injury during the incident.

The Medal of Merit, given to a public safety professional who demonstrates exceptional commitment to community both on- and off-duty, was presented to Corporal Mike Johnson with the Lilburn Police Department.

The Public Safety Awards honored those individuals who have performed their jobs with exceptional skill, expertise, innovation, and results. This year, a person, a unit, and a communications officer received this honor.

  • The Public Safety Person of the Year went to Corporal Danielle Reed with the Gwinnett County Police Department.
  • The Gwinnett County Police Department Homicide Unit received the Public Safety Unit of the Year
  • Communications Officer II Andrea Goins with the Gwinnett County Police Department received the Public Safety Communications Officer of the Year

The Life Saving Award, presented to a public safety professional who acted in a life-threatening situation where an individual’s life was in jeopardy, was given to School Resource Officer Ronetta Coates with Gwinnett County Public Schools Police.

The Medal of Valor – gold, silver, and bronze levels – recognized those individuals who exhibited bravery and heroism in situations of extreme danger, heightened emergency, and/or risk of injury and death.

  • The Gold Medal of Valor was presented to Firefighter/Paramedic Captain Jason Weese, Firemedic Senior Fred Rosser, and Firemedic Senior Matthew Burton with Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services.
  • The Silver Medal of Valor was awarded to Corporal Aaron Carlyle and K-9 Officer Kai and Officers Anthony Ottilo and Nicholas Senchak with the Gwinnett County Police Department.
  • The Bronze Medal of Valor was given to Lt. Bryan Reavis, Sergeants Todd Heller and Richard Lacey, and Corporals William Webb and David Duren of the Gwinnett County Police Department SWAT team.

Senior Correctional Officer Scott Ozburn Riner who was killed in the line of duty while serving his community was awarded the Purple Heart. This rare award was presented in grateful memory of Officer Riner for his exceptional legacy and ultimate sacrifice to protect and serve the people of Gwinnett. His wife, Elana, and son, Taylor, were in attendance to accept this award on his behalf.

Masino added, “The Gwinnett Chamber wants to thank this year’s VALOR Award finalists and recipients, as well as all of our program sponsors, for making this amazing event possible.”

To learn more about the VALOR Awards program, go to and for upcoming event information, visit


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