Fallen DPD officers receive Purple Hearts, other heroes honored

Hearts were heavy in Detroit Cobo Hall on a night for heroes.

- Hearts were heavy at Cobo Center as Detroit's public safety foundation honored those who risk life and limb to protect the public - and those who sacrificed all.

"Officer Jarrett leaves behind a wife, four children and countless friends and family members who continue to mourn his life," read Michael Ritchie of Comerica Bank during the ceremony.

Cpl. Myron Jarrett and Capt. Kenneth Steil were awarded Purple Hearts posthumously. Both were killed in the line of duty.

"While you have a high expectation that when you leave your office tonight, you're going home, these brave men and women, when they leave their homes in the morning or evening, there's no assurance they're going home," said Detroit Police Chief James Craig. 

Officer Darren Long received a Medal of Honor and a Purple Heart after taking a round to the leg in a gunfight as he pursued a wanted felon.

"The thing you see in the movies, where time slows down? That happens. That's a reality," said Long of the moment he was being shot at. 

Officer Jonathon Gardner received a Medal of Honor for finding and securing a number of IEDs.

"There were some kids across the street playing in an open field and it was actually quite a populated neighborhood that those bombs were in, so it was pretty good that we got those bombs off the street," Gardner said. 

Firefighter Desmond Orr was hospitalized after a roof collapsed on him as he fought a fire. Yet, Orr says he would still do it all over again. 

"Every day if I could. I love this city. I was born here; I was raised here. I do this every day for the citizens of Detroit," he said. 

"The stories are numerous and we actually don't have enough time to honor everyone that should be honored tonight," said Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones. "But most of them don't want to be recognized, truth be told. They come in, they do their job and they go home. ... Like true heroes."

In all, more than 50 police officers, firefighters, paramedics and US Marshals were honored at the ceremony Wednesday.

Craig says this tribute was especially touching, considering that the number of officers killed by guns has gone up dramatically this year, and that first responders - police in particular - need more public support now, than ever.


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