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Duluth police officer honored at White House

Vice President Joe Biden (obscured) awards Lt. Brad Wick of the Duluth Police Department the Medal of Valor during a ceremony for public safety officers at the White House on Feb. 11, 2015. Rep. Rick Nolan (right) and Attorney General Eric Holder look on. REUTERS/Gary Cameron 1 / 3
Vice President Joe Biden (obscured) awards Lt. Brad Wick of the Duluth Police Department the Medal of Valor during a ceremony for public safety officers in Washington on February 11, 2015.REUTERS/Gary Cameron2 / 3
Lt. Brad Wick of the Duluth Police Department walks offstage after being awarded the Medal of Valor during a ceremony for public safety officers in Washington on February 11, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron3 / 3

Duluth police Lt. Brad Wick received the nation’s highest award for public safety officers during a White House ceremony on Wednesday.

Vice President Joe Biden placed the Medal of Valor around Wick’s neck as Attorney General Eric Holder and Rep. Rick Nolan looked on.

Wick was ambushed by gunfire and fatally shot an armed robbery suspect in August 2011 in a home in the Gary-New Duluth neighborhood, after the suspect had entered the home and shot a woman inside. The woman survived her injuries.

Before awarding the medals Wednesday,

Biden recounted the heroic actions of some of the recipients, including Wick.

“You heard shots inside a home in Duluth, and you entered without concern for your own safety, thinking only of what was happening to that hostage inside,” Biden said of Wick.

Speaking of all the recipients, Biden said, “in each of those cases the odds were not real great (but) you all acted instinctively, without hesitation. Every one of you acted consistent with your training and above what you were trained to do. ...

“You’re a rare breed. You’re all crazy,” Biden said, for risking their lives to save others, but “we love you for it. We need you. You are the best thing we have going for us.”

Authorized by Congress in 2001, the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor is granted by the president of the United States to law enforcement officers and firefighters who have “exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect human life.”

Wick, 54, a 29-year veteran of the Duluth Police Department, is one of just 95 recipients of the award, according to a White House press release. The first recipients were honored in 2003.

“I’m very honored to be selected,” Wick told the News Tribune by phone Tuesday from Washington. “It’s very humbling to be included in this group.”

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