To recognize the outstanding achievements and service of police officers, firefighters and emergency medical service units from southern Sussex County, the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce and Carl M. Freeman Companies presented the 2019 Joshua M. Freeman Valor Awards Luncheon Feb. 22.
Hosted by The Cove Bar & Grille at Bayside, the event recognized 14 service men and women, nominated by their superiors or units, for their work and achievements throughout the past year.
The Overall Valor Award went to Cpl. Justin Hopkins of the Ocean View Police Department. Hopkins’ actions made an impact for his department, community and the entire state of Delaware. In 2018, Hopkins saw a need to provide advanced emergency medical training to area canine handlers. With no financial support available, he launched several fundraising initiatives, ultimately raising $26,000, which he used to hire Veterinary Tactical Group to provide a Tactical Canine Casualty Care course for all Delaware police canine teams. As a result of Hopkins’ efforts, the vast majority of Delaware's police canine handlers have successfully completed this important course.
Chief Kenneth McLaughlin of the Ocean View Police Department nominated Hopkins for the award. “Corporal Hopkins recognized the need for training, and his initiative to make it happen in spite of having no available funds or resources is commendable and worthy of recognition. His efforts safeguard Delaware's police canines and strengthen the abilities of the police canine teams to achieve mission success,” said McLaughlin.