AUSTIN – The Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw today presented two Unit Citations, two Director’s Citations, and a Life Saving Award to DPS employees for their extraordinary service. In addition, other law enforcement members and civilians received accolades for their bravery and service to the state.
“These individuals’ actions epitomize courage and devotion, and I am honored to recognize their selfless dedication. This is a proud moment for these recipients, their families and DPS,” said Director McCraw. “The state of Texas thanks you for your bravery and commitment to helping others.”
Director McCraw and the PSC also presented a Memorial Cross to the son and nephew – Allan Etheridge and Floyd Etheridge – in honor of the late Texas Highway Patrol Sgt. Floyd Etheridge who died in 1969. Etheridge died as a result of injuries he suffered while working on his state-issued patrol car.
“Sgt. Floyd Etheridge was dedicated to protecting and serving Texans, and he committed his career to that goal,” said Director McCraw. “Today we honor his sacrifice and thank the Etheridge family for their continued strength.”
The following awards were presented today:
Agent Cody Allen, Criminal Investigations Division in Midland, and Trooper Tanner Purvis, Texas Highway Patrol in Eden, received Director’s Citations for their response to an active-shooter incident on May 26, 2013. The shooting spree spanned McCulloch and Concho counties and ended on Highway 83 north of Eden with one dead, several others injured and the suspect deceased. Allen and Purvis responded to a call for assistance from then-Concho County Sheriff Richard Doane, who was subsequently shot by the gunman. While Allen provided cover, Purvis administered first aid and helped move the sheriff to safety. Allen, Purvis and a Texas Parks and Wildlife warden then confronted the suspect, who ultimately died at the scene. Texas Parks and Wildlife Warden Jacob Crumpton, retired Concho County Sheriff Richard Doane, and current Concho County Sheriff Chad Miller received Director’s Awards for their heroic actions. The gunman was later identified as active-duty military and had traveled to Texas after allegedly killing his wife in North Carolina.
Trooper James Weaver, Highway Patrol in Brady, received the Life Saving Award for his actions during a life-threatening situation on October 4, 2013. While on patrol near Sullivan City on Highway 83, Weaver was approached by a man and woman carrying a small child, who had been chocking and was not breathing. Weaver administered first aid that dislodged the blockage and helped save the child’s life.
Ruben Carpentier received a Director’s Award for helping a crash victim on November 19, 2013, on FM 625 in Jim Wells County. After observing the crash scene, Carpentier stopped to render aid to a driver whose arm was severed during the crash. Carpentier applied a tourniquet and kept the driver stable until help arrived, ultimately saving her life.
Allan Etheridge and Floyd Etheridge received a Memorial Cross in honor of the late Sgt. Floyd Etheridge, who died on October 28, 1965. Etheridge was working on his state-issued patrol car at his residence in Palestine when it fell off the jack onto him.
Waco Regional Crime Laboratory personnel received a Unit Citation for their efficient handling of cases and their ability to assist five other DPS Crime Labs with their caseloads. In 2013, the Waco lab staff completed 1,424 controlled substance cases in addition to their own 2,737 cases. They also completed 98 forensic biology cases in addition to their own 733 cases during the same time. Starla Copeland, Araceli Uptmor, Blake Goertz, Kristina Aguirre, Kara Amis, Erin Casmus, Sandra Cole, Lindsay Hatfield, Chad Hayes, Lesley Johnson, Brian Kivlighn, Andrew Lopez, James Milam, Brent Watson, Dustin Whitson and Serena Zboril were all honored as part of the Unit Citation.
The Education, Training and Research Division cafeteria personnel received a Unit Citation for their continued professionalism and exceptional performance. The unit continually looks for and implements procedures to increase the quality of the product served while keeping costs to students and the agency to a minimum. Staff members maintain a high morale and positive attitude to create a welcoming atmosphere to all customers. Gabriel Vega, Dale Bishop, Kenney Baldwin, Estela Bong, Ernestine Clark, April Clayton, Randall Grindle, Eugene Isom, Sherri Mitchell, Debbie Muenich, Charles Parker, Nelda Ramos and Rebecca Williams were all recognized as part of the Unit Citation.
Herbert Reed was recognized with a Service Award for his 50 years of service to DPS and the state of Texas. Reed, a custodian with DPS facilities department, was also honored during a recent reception marking his anniversary with the agency.