Citizens honored for bravery in West Jeff



Messenger photo by Sandi Latimer
Stephanie L. Richardson (left) and Thomas J. Clark (right), were recognized at the March 5 West Jefferson village council meeting for their bravery in assisting West Jefferson police officer Matt Stevers (center) during an incident in January.

(Posted March 7, 2018)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

Two citizens who came to the aid of a police officer struggling with a combative man received high praise from West Jefferson village leaders.

At the March 5 village council meeting, Stephanie L. Richardson and Thomas J. Clark received certificates of appreciation for their “bravery, courage and selflessness” associated with an incident that took place Jan. 24 at Arbors West Rehabilitation.

While at the rehabilitation facility, West Jefferson police officer Matt Stevers said he encountered a male who became combative and uncooperative.

In his report to Mayor Ray Martin, Stevers wrote that he became involved in a struggle with the subject. He quickly realized he needed help and radioed for additional officers.

While officers from the police department, Madison County Sheriff’s Office and Ohio Highway Patrol were en route, Richardson and Clark stepped in. Both are Arbors West employees.

“They put their own safety in jeopardy to assist me in gaining control of the subject,” Stevers wrote. “They did not have to get involved, but decided to assist me in my time of need. These individuals showed extreme courage and selflessness … and were instrumental in the arrest of the male. They helped hold the subject until other law enforcement personnel arrived.”

Stevers said their quick actions saved him and another person from serious injuries.

Council President Steve Johnston called Richardson and Clark “angels among us.”

Also recognized at the March 5 council meeting was Kelly Leonard, an athletic trainer for Jefferson Local Schools.

Martin declared March as National Athletic Trainers Month in the village. He said athletic trainers provide quality health care for athletes, work to prevent injuries, lead athletes in rehabilitation in case of injuries, and give compassionate care.

In other business, council approved the purchase of a 2018 Chevrolet 1500 regular cab pickup truck with a trade-in. The village is trading in a 17-year-old truck and a used police chief’s car. The cost is $24,387 after the $2,000 trade-in.

Council also approved an expedited Type II annexation of 361 acres of land to the village. The acreage lies east of the village in Jefferson Township. The Madison County commissioners have approved the annexation.

Sky Ranch Properties LLC made the annexation request. Commercial and residential development are planned.

Marci Darlingto said the Community Center is looking for artwork related to or inspired by Vincent Van Gogh for a Vincent Van Gogh Birthday Party art show set for March 30-31. For details, call (740) 490-8317.

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