Two Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Conservation Officers received a Medal of Valor during the March meeting of the Commission on Mississippi’s Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
Pvt. Brian Tallent and Lt. Jason Redden were commended for their heroic and lifesaving efforts displayed in 2020.
Tallent was contacted about a suspicious vehicle and possible trespassing in the Holly Springs National Forest around midnight on July 20. He soon encountered the SUV in question on a dirt road near Curry Lake and was able to block it from going any further.
The driver left his vehicle, approached Tallent, and repeatedly said he was lost and his passenger had been involved in a wreck. He insisted Tallent move his truck so he could get the passenger to a hospital.
When Tallent investigated the vehicle, he immediately saw the passenger had severe burns, bruises and cuts on her entire body, and that she was struggling to breathe.
Tallent apprehended the driver and performed life-saving measures on the passenger before she was airlifted to a nearby hospital. The victim survived and the suspect, Michael Paul Gray, 42, of Coffeeville, was arrested and charged with attempted murder and possession of a schedule 1 drug.
Redden was responding to a 2 a.m. call involving a missing person in Calhoun County on Dec. 16 when he noticed a home engulfed in smoke and flames.
Once he arrived on the scene of the fire, Redden heard someone inside the home. He kicked in the door and entered the home. He was able to rescue the occupant inside along with his two pets before the house was consumed by the fire.
“I am extremely proud of the immediate, decisive actions taken by both officers,” said Dr. Sam Polles, MDWFP executive director. “We train our officers to be prepared to handle any situation they encounter.”