From the TSA agent who helped distract the attacker at the New Orleans airport to a Federal Protective Service inspector who grabbed a woman trying to jump off the Woodrow Wilson Bridge just outside Washington, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson recognized a dozen department employees Thursday for valor.
Some of them were on duty for their heroics, including Christopher Leon, a coast guardsman who jumped into 15-foot seas off California at night and swam back and forth between a flooded boat and a helicopter rescue basket, pulling to safety four men who were part of the Great Pacific Race but ran into distress when their boat began taking on water.
Others were off-duty for their life-saving actions. FPS Inspector Kevin Adams was on his way home from Alexandria when he saw a woman sitting on the Wilson Bridge railing, who tried to jump when he approached her. He grabbed her coat to stop her, she unzipped it and tried to wriggle free and jump again, and he once again stopped her, the department said.
“The valor awardees performed well beyond what is expected, responding in extraordinary action to help another in need,” Mr. Johnson said.
Among the other honorees were Carol Richel, the Transportation Security Officer who helped distract the machete-wielding attacker at the New Orleans airport earlier this year, getting grazed by a bullet in the process but showing up for work the next day anyway.