Paying tribute to courage: Fallen Hanover firefighter to be honored with prestigious award

Hanover County

(WRIC) — A fallen Hanover firefighter will be honored in April with the prestigious Ray Downey Courage and Valor Award during the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) International. 

Hanover Fire & EMS Lieutenant Brad Clark was killed in the line of duty on Oct. 11 while responding to a crash on Interstate 295 South, when the area was feeling the impact of Tropical Storm Michael. 

Lt. Clark died on the scene after a tractor-trailer plowed into his firetruck. He is credited with yelling out a warning that likely saved the lives of two other firefighters who were injured.

According to Fire Engineering magazine, who first reported that Lt. Clark had won the award, “one firefighter who was riding behind Lieutenant Clark was reaching back into the jump seat to retrieve a medical bag when he heard Lieutenant Clark’s warning.”

“Sensing the impending impact, he dove headfirst back into the cab as the tractor-trailer struck the rear of Engine 6. That firefighter emerged from the wreckage without significant injuries and was able to begin treatment of his fellow firefighters.”

Lt. Clark’s wife, Melanie Clark, spoke with 8News about her husband’s memory in October. 

“He’s my best friend and he’s still with me,” M. Clark said. “I feel him, so I cherish every memory that we have and I’m blessed.”

Because of Lt. Clark’s actions, he will be honored with the 2019 Ray Downey Courage & Valor Award, which includes the Courage & Valor Medal and also $35,000 provided by the Courage & Valor Foundation.

The award is named after Deputy Chief Ray Downey, the chief of rescue operations of the New York Fire Department who was killed during the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings during the Sept. 11 attacks. 

Melanie Clark plans to attend the FDIC International, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she will accept the award on Lt. Clark’s behalf during the opening ceremony on April 10. 

The ceremony will be streamed live on the Fire Engineering magazine’s website.

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