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July 9, 2001

Governor Presents Law Enforcement Medal of Honor to Sixteen Officers

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today presented sixteen law enforcement officers from around Illinois with the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor at a ceremony held at the Executive Mansion. The annual awards, created by state statute, honor law enforcement officers "who have distinguished themselves by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their lives above and beyond the call of duty."

"These officers remind us that there truly are heroes among us everyday," said Governor George Ryan, who hosted the ceremony. "The 35,000 police officers in Illinois handle similar calls on a daily basis. These awards reflect our appreciation to all of them."

Nine of those honored are Chicago Police Department officers. Sergeant John Matishak exchanged gunfire with an assailant during a street melee and was wounded in the line of duty. CPD Officers John Elstner, Arnold Martinez, Richard Schmidt and Stanley Snarkis were off duty when they battled intense heat and smoke to rescue a badly injured elderly couple. Chicago Police Officer Kevin Keefe was wounded in the line of duty while acting to safeguard the residents of a housing project and his partner, Allen Hadac, risked his life to drag his wounded comrade to safety. CPD Officers Jackpierre Huayamave and Sayam Sampim both put their lives on the line and prevented the loss of innocent lives when they pursued a man with a submachine gun in a densely populated neighborhood.

Four Roselle Police Officers were awarded the Medal of Honor for their response to a hit- and-run incident. Officers Chris Douglas, Robert Leibich, Douglas Oden and Roman Tarchala apprehended the offender and later discovered he had committed a murder prior to the hit-and-run accident.

Sergeant James Winters of the Illinois State Police was honored for his action while assisting the Sandwich Police Department. His quick, decisive response averted a potential suicide and kept an incident from escalating into a situation of deadly force.

Lieutenant Timothy Wand of the Jo Daviess County Sheriff's Office received the Medal of Honor for his quick thinking and courage, preventing a distraught woman from killing herself or injuring someone else.

Sergeant Marc DeLise of the Oakbrook Police Department was honored for defusing a potentially deadly situation when his calm and collected response prevented an armed woman in a busy law office from injuring herself or others.


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