Governor Mike Parson recently presented St. Charles County Police Officer John K. Gresco II with the Medal of Valor Award for saving a man during a flash flood. Officer Gresco was one of 15 first responders and seven civilians who received 2020 Public Safety Medals for heroic acts from Governor Parson at an awards presentation Sept. 1 at the Missouri Highway Patrol in Jefferson City.
At 1 a.m. on Aug. 9, 2020, Officer Gresco encountered a man whose car became stuck in flood water on Pitman Hill Road. The current quickly began to carry the car toward a nearby creek, and the man clung to the top of the car as Officer Gresco arrived. With no time to wait for additional assistance, Officer Gresco used a submerged guardrail to get near the vehicle, then traveled through the waist-deep floodwater to reach the man and bring him to safety.
“Officer Gresco put his life at risk to save this gentleman,’ says Chief Kurt Frisz. “It is a testament to his dedication and loyalty to his job and to the community. He is to be commended for displaying extreme courage and staying calm in this life-or-death situation.”
“Conservatively speaking, I would say at least 10 citizens were assisted off their partially submerged vehicles that night by St. Charles County Police officers,” Officer Gresco recalls. “Although my call took a turn for the worse, I know that what I did is what any police officer I have ever met and or have worked with would have done. I just happened to be that police officer, on that night, at that time, on that road.”
Watch the 2020 Missouri Public Safety Awards Presentation online.