JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Wednesday morning, first responders were honored in Jefferson City as Governor Mike Parson awarded Missouri Public Safety Medals to more than two dozen people who displayed bravery and even saved lives in 2021.
Colton Beck | Missouri State Highway Patrol
Colton Beck, a Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper, was shot in the eye during a chase in Springfield on Dec. 10, 2021. Beck saw a pickup run a red light on S. Glenstone Ave. that evening and tried to stop the truck, which initially pulled over, then drove away. Beck found the truck again and chased it through a neighborhood until the truck got stuck in a ravine.
Court documents show the driver fired at Beck with a shotgun, hitting Beck in the head and chest. Beck returned fire as he ran back to his patrol car.
A search for the suspect lasted through the night. The next morning, an MSHP Trooper spotted Justin Jackman and arrested him. Court documents reported Jackman confessed to the shooting. Jackman faces a list of felony charges related to this incident. He is scheduled to be in court on Sept. 22, 2022, for a hearing.
Trooper Beck received the Medal of Valor and the Red, White and Blue Heart Award Wednesday.
Bryan Yarbrough | Civilian nominated by Bolivar Police
According to a news release from Governor Parson’s office, in November 2021, Bryan Yarbrough was driving back to a hospital, where his fiancée had just delivered a baby hours earlier when he saw flames coming from the roof of a house. Yarbrough stopped to knock on the door. He heard animals inside, so he opened the door, which was unlocked.
Yarbrough found two people sleeping in the house and helped everyone escape the flames before calling 911. The fire grew and became so intense that firefighters had to fight the flames from outside because they feared the roof might collapse.
Bolivar police said Yarbrough left the scene to return to the hospital and did not seek any recognition.
Yarbrough received the Public Safety Civilian Partnership Award, which is awarded to Missourians who do not work as first responders, but showed courage and helped in an emergency.
Robert Bridges | Springfield-Greene County Park Board
Robert Bridges was shot six times on Nov. 11, 2021, in a parking lot at Battlefield Road and Glenstone Avenue while he assisted Springfield Police.
Park Ranger Bridges was helping Springfield Police search for an armed man who had caused a disturbance at a nearby business. Bridges spotted the man and drove toward him when the man turned and fired several shots through Bridges’ car. The man continued to fire at Bridges. Springfield police officers fired back and killed the gunman.
Bridges has had multiple surgeries and will need more as he continues to recover from his injuries.
Ranger Bridges received the Red, White and Blue Heart Award. This is the first year it has been awarded, honoring first responders who were injured in the line of duty.
Blaize Madrid-Evans | Independence Police Department
Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans also received the Red, White and Blue Heart Award. While not an officer in the Springfield area, Madrid-Evans had an impact on a well-known Springfield police officer and his family.
Madrid-Evans was shot and killed just two months after graduating from a police academy when he responded to a call on Sept. 15, 2021, in Independence, Missouri.
Madrid-Evans was an organ donor and his donations helped 75 people. One of those people was Springfield Officer Mark Priebe, who was injured on duty in 2020. Because of Officer Madrid-Evans, Priebe received a life-saving kidney transplant.
Jon Routh, the man charged with hitting Officer Priebe with a car, paralyzing Priebe, is undergoing a mental health evaluation.
Anyone can nominate a first responder or civilian for heroic acts performed in 2022. You can do so at the Missouri Department of Public Safety website at https://dps.mo.gov/medal/.