Officer earns governor’s award for rescue
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Darwin Halbrooks of Hartselle and a fellow correctional officer at the Limestone Correctional Facility, Richard Stover, were formally recognized on Aug. 11 for helping an elderly couple get out of their burning house.
At a ceremony attended by their families and fellow officers, Halbrooks and Stover each received a framed certificate of commendation “for heroic efforts and selfless service” signed by Governor Bob Riley. The commendations were presented by Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) Commissioner Richard Allen and Warden Billy Mitchem.
Allen commended both officers for going above and beyond the call of duty.
On Friday, April 21, at approximately 7:30 a.m. Halbrooks and Stover noticed flames coming from a house while traveling to work. After calling 9-1-1. Halbrooks and Stover entered the burning house and discovered Mr. and Mrs. Donald Pressnell and their pet poodle inside. Halbrooks assisted Mrs. Pressnell and the poodle to safety while Stover and Donald Pressnell removed the family car and his pickup truck from an enclosed garage.
With the help of Halbrooks and Stover the Pressnells were able to save some family pictures and a few pieces of furniture before the roof collapsed. The officers waited on the scene until the couple’s children arrived.
Both officers have been nominated by the ADOC for the 2006 Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice. The medal is awarded annually by the President to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage in protecting or saving human lives.
Halbrooks is a native of Hartselle and an 18-year ADOC veteran. He was recently appointed chairman of the Morgan County Democratic Executive Committee.
He and his wife Catherine, who is the Morgan County Democratic nominee for a district judge seat, reside at 710 East Main Street. They have a daughter, Nina, who is a junior at Hartselle High School.