They Serve, Protect Bravely

Most of us will never be in the kinds of situations law enforcement officers and deputies face regularly. Thank heaven for that. Thoughtful people are grateful they do not have to make the judgment calls officers and deputies make all the time to keep the peace and protect the rest of us.

And thank heaven it is they who handle life-threatening situations -because they do so with great skill and courage.

Wheeling Police Sgt. David Drahos was honored last week with a law enforcement Medal of Honor for a demonstration of what Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger described as “courage, bravery, professionalism, loyalty, teamwork, skill and ability.”

It was Drahos who on Oct. 9 brought a shooting spree outside the Federal Building in Wheeling to an end.

Hearing shots being fired by former policeman Thomas Piccard, Drahos, who had been on duty inside the building, left quickly and spotted the assailant.

Armed only with a handgun, Drahos shot Piccard from about 70 yards away. Anyone who has ever fired a pistol at a target understands that was a very, very good shot. It was made by a man under physical, emotional and intellectual stress. It may well have saved lives.

Drahos also is to receive a national award for his actions in stopping Piccard’s rampage.

Also honored last week were several other Wheeling police officers and firefighters – all of whom serve and protect local residents with skill, ability and courage.

We join his fellow officers in recognizing Drahos for what he did Oct. 9. He and others who put their lives on the line regularly to protect the rest of us deserve every pitifully inadequate expression of thanks we civilians can give to them.