Tacoma fire fighter awarded Medal of Valor for Commencement Bay rescue

The Tacoma Fire Department presented a Medal of Valor Award to fire fighter Annie Craig for rescuing a citizen in...

The Tacoma Fire Department presented a Medal of Valor Award to fire fighter Annie Craig for rescuing a citizen in a near-drowning incident in Commencement Bay on Feb. 15. The department’s highest award, the Medal of Valor, is given to fire fighters who demonstrate acts of bravery and heroism in hazardous situations.

According to city officials, after arriving at Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park for an unrelated 911 call, the Tacoma Fire Department’s Ladder 3 fire fighters spotted John Bronson swimming in the water near an overturned canoe. Rebecca Thayer-Blunt, Bronson’s daughter, swam out to help Bronson get the canoe back to the beach but the two were unable to do so by themselves. As the Tacoma Fire Department’s Ladder 3 crew assembled equipment to assist from shore, Bronson began struggling to keep his head above water, submerging several times. Tacoma Fire Department fire fighter Craig entered the water and swam to Bronson. With Thayer-Blunt’s assistance, Craig towed Bronson about 40 feet back to shore, where Bronson was medically evaluated, warmed and then released at the scene.

Craig received the award during a ceremony on March 27 at City Hall. Certificates of Commendation were also presented to Tacoma Fire Department Captain Jennifer Gunnel, fire fighter Jack Hawkins, and Thayer-Blunt for their roles in the rescue efforts.

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