CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The West Virginia First Responder Honor Board Tuesday unanimously voted to submit the names of two fallen Mountain State first responders to be considered as nominees for the Medal of Valor.
Fallen Nicholas County Deputy Thomas Baker and fallen Gassaway Volunteer Firefighter John Forbush were submitted to the legislature for consideration.
After the Board votes, the nominations are referred to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House so that each representative body can confirm the awards during the 2023 legislative session.
Firefighter Forbush attempted to save two people from a car after they drove into the Elk River in Sutton, Braxton County. He rushed a mile to the scene and immediately sprang into action, jumping into the river. He was unable to free the mother and daughter from the car and ended up dying at the scene on May 1, 2022, at the age of 24. The incident was later ruled a murder-suicide.
Deputy Baker was responding to a domestic disturbance in Birch River, Nicholas County, the night of June 3 that escalated into a shootout. During the shootout, Baker was killed, another deputy was shot in the leg, and one of the two suspects was killed. “Deputy Baker responded to this call with bravery and courage, and paid the ultimate sacrifice while trying to keep his community safe from harm,” the Board said in a release Wednesday.
The West Virginia First Responder Honor Board held its inaugural meeting on May 25.