Kootenai Co. fireman gets Idaho Medal of Honor

Lt. John Ward saved his neighbor from their burning house in 2015. As KREM 2's Taylor Viydo reporter, now the state of Idaho is honoring the firefighter for his act of heroism. (9/9/16)

RATHDRUM, Idaho – A Kootenai County firefighter who has been credited with saving the life of his neighbor was given the Idaho Medal of Honor on Friday.

Lieutenant John Ward was off duty at his home in Rathdrum, Idaho when he noticed smoke coming from his neighbor’s house on April 13, 2015. He then ran over to help out, only to find that his elderly neighbor was stuck inside the burning home. Valerie Yates had been in a wheelchair and could not move. Lt. Ward then dove into the home and crawled under the smoke to drag her to safety.

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden gave the award to Ward at a ceremony in Boise. Started in 2005, the Medal of Honor is reserved for law enforcement and first responders who go beyond the call of duty. Ward was nominated by his Chief, Warren Merritt.

"It's something that not a lot of people get. And I'm just deeply honored to be one of those few," said Ward.

According to Ward, a firefighter from southern Idaho was also presented with a medal of honor at Friday's ceremony.

(© 2016 KREM)


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