New Madrid trooper earns medal for bravery

Sunday, October 14, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY -- Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday presented the Missouri Medal of Valor to eight public safety officers from across the state for their brave and heroic acts in efforts to save lives and protect the public during 2011, including a Southeast Missouri highway patrol trooper.

Family members and the officers' colleagues were on hand for the presentation of Missouri's highest public safety award during a ceremony in the governor's office in the Capitol.

Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper James C. Cooksey Jr. earned his medal on June 21, 2011. Cooksey responded when a sport utility vehicle ran off Route P into a flooded drainage ditch in New Madrid County. The SUV, submerged up to the luggage rack, was rapidly being swept downstream in St. John's Bayou. Cooksey joined two people attempting to reach the driver and free her from the vehicle. Cooksey assisted the civilians in getting the victim out of the vehicle and then swam, pulling her toward the bank. Cooksey and another trooper performed CPR until an ambulance arrived, but the victim did not survive.

Other honorees were: Joseph G. Heath, St. John's Ambulance Service, and Jeffrey S. Elliot, Springfield Fire Department; Thomas R. Bacon, Jr., Pattonville Fire Protection District; Daryl A. Hall, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department; Robert C. Siscel, Sunset Hills Police Department; Curtis B. Bohanan II, Jefferson City Police Department, and Christopher J. Suchanek, Cole County Sheriff's Department.

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