Medal Of Valor: Police Officer Donald Thompson Risks His Own Life To Save Victim From Burning Car

LAPD Medal of Valor

On Christmas Day in 2013, at 2:00 in the afternoon, LAPD Officer Thompson was on his way to work. He was driving on the 405 freeway when he witnessed a northbound vehicle crash into the center divider.

Jumping Into Action

Immediately, the vehicle burst into flames. Officer Thompson stopped his vehicle and ran to assist the driver of the vehicle. Unfortunately, the driver was stuck and unconscious.

According to Los Angeles Councilman Mitchell Englander, “He forced open the badly damaged front door, and after several attempts to release the unconscious driver from his seatbelt, he finally freed the driver and dragged him out of the vehicle.”

Thompson, a bomb technician with the LAPD, helped the driver out of the car with the assistance of two good samaritans. However, he did not come out of the incident unscathed. Thompson had second-degree burns on his hands and his face.

Even with his slight injures, Thompson would not change a thing. “If I am physically capable of doing it, I would give it my best.”

Just Another Day At Work

After his burn wounds were treated, he headed back on his way to work. He has received much recognition since saving the driver from the burning car. However, Thompson does not consider himself to be a hero.

“Deep down inside I don’t really feel as if I’m a hero. I did something to help someone in a time of need.”

Officer Thompson

Thompson has been with the Los Angeles Police Department for 30 years.

Honored For His Bravery

In 2016, Officer Thompson was awarded the Medal of Valor for his bravery and courage. He was presented the medal in a ceremony at the White House by President Obama.

Thompson’s one statement is something everyone should be able to get behind. At his medal ceremony, he said, “We live in a time where people don’t care much about each other, and we need to start caring about each other a bit more.”

Thompson still keeps in touch with the driver from the accident to this day, making his words hold that much more weight.




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