Coast Guard presents Certificate of Valor to Gulfport firefighter

8th Coast Guard District NewsGULFPORT, Miss. — The Coast Guard is scheduled to present a Gulfport firefighter with the Certificate of Valor during an official ceremony at the Central Fire Station, Friday.

The Coast Guard will award Lawrence Burkhalter with the Certificate of Valor for his heroic efforts in the rescue of a State of Mississippi port employee.

On Dec. 10, 2010, Roy Lang fell 20 feet off of West Pier 7 into 48-degree water in the deep draft of the Gulf Harbor. With the freezing temperatures and inability to recover, Lang became hypothermic and unresponsive.

After two attempts at positioning Lang in a stokes litter basket, Burkhalter securely lifted him on to the Coast Guard vessel.

Burkhalter acted with courage and selflessness despite the unbearable conditions. Moreover, he did not have any cold water protective equipment, which further endangered his life.

The award recognizes his actions as a great credit upon himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of humanitarian service.

“Lt. Burkhalter’s actions are a reflection of some of the many civilians throughout Coast Guard history who exemplified astonishing devotion to duty and valor,” said Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Ponte, commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Gulfport. “He demonstrated such extraordinary efforts in saving the life of another person, his actions deserve merit.”

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