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Law enforcement, first responders honored at Valor Awards

RICHMOND, Va. -- Police officers and firefighters who performed courageous acts over the past year were celebrated at the 27th annual Valor Awards at the Greater Richmond Convention Center Thursday morning.

Officer Matthew Cavanaugh received the Gold Medal of Valor, one of the highest honors a police officer or firefighter can receive for their bravery in the line of duty.

Cavanaugh was shot last November while following a man who allegedly abducted two people,  robbed them and led police on a chase.

The officer shot  Frank Reid, who is accused of shooting one of his hostages in the head and then firing at police.

Fortunately, both of the victims survived and attended the ceremony to help present officer Cavanaugh with his award.

“I think it’s a calling,” Cavanaugh said. “I don’t believe police work is something you can’t be forced to do it, you have to want to do it. And we have an overwhelming urge to help people especially at a disadvantage and folks that need help.”

Retail Merchants Association President Nancy Thomas said the event aims to bring the community together to honor and thank first responders.

“The most important of them all is that our first responders and their families are here to enjoy a morning of gratitude,” Thomas said.

Organizers said the work of law enforcement and firefighters is a calling for dedicated men and women.

WTVR staffers, including Rob Cardwell, Chelsea Rarrick and Greg McQuade, attended the ceremony.