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Brig. Gen. Gene D. Meredith, U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center commanding general and director of Army Safety, and Col. Robert J. Holcombe, Fort Rucker garrison commander, present the U.S. Army Safety Guardian Award to Richard Peterson, a Fort Rucker police officer during a ceremony Aug. 9. (Photo Credit: Jay Mann) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- A Fort Rucker police officer earned the U.S. Army Safety Guardian Award during a recognition ceremony in the Soldier Service Center Aug. 9.

Richard Peterson received the award from Brig. Gen. Gene D. Meredith, U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center commanding general and director of Army Safety, for his actions May 6, according to the citation read at the ceremony.

On that day, a concerned citizen informed Peterson of a vehicle traveling erratically toward the Enterprise Gate. He attempted to perform a traffic stop, but received no response from the driver. The vehicle then repeatedly ran off the road, eventually striking a light pole, spinning out of control and coming to a stop in the roadway.

Peterson immediately checked on the driver, who was incoherent. He quickly determined the driver was experiencing a diabetic episode and immediately obtained the proper medical attention – keeping the driver’s condition from progressing to a diabetic seizure.

“I have always been in awe of police officers, sheriffs and security forces,” Meredith said. “What a police officer has to do is make that judgement call, am I going into a gunfight or do I need to go in and help somebody?

“My hat is off to all of you who do that, because I know how difficult of a job that is,” he added.

Peterson said such actions are all in a day’s work.

“I believe that any of our officers who came upon this situation would have reacted the same way – that is how we train them,” the officer said. “We always have to keep an eye out when it comes to safety – it is all about responsibility.”

Col. Robert J. Holcombe, Fort Rucker garrison commander, said he feels Peterson’s actions say a lot about Fort Rucker and the people who make up the team here.

“I think it really speaks to the culture and climate we have on Rucker,” he said. “The fact that you have an officer here who is not going to leap to conclusions, and someone who is thinking through the problem, thinking of service to the community, thinking how can I help this person. Just think about in our daily lives if we run into someone who is having a bad day, or is responding harshly to us, and we just ask them are you ok, are you alright? If that was our first instinct, just think about how great life would be.”