Truck driver honored as hero
Published: November 20, 2006 | 5064th good news item since 2003
When Kirkman Daigle saw a state trooper in trouble nine months ago at a truck stop in Sulphur, he didn’t hesitate.
The 44-year-old truck driver grabbed a man fighting with Trooper Brad Saltzman and trying to grab his gun during a traffic stop March 12. [Brave Men]
Daigle helped restrain the man and the assailant’s girlfriend, who had jumped on Saltzman’s back during the struggle.
“My brother is a state trooper in Lafayette,” Daigle said. “I would want someone to do the same for him. When I saw him, I saw my brother.”
Daigle, along with 34 other civilians and state troopers, were honored Thursday at the Louisiana State Police’s annual awards ceremony.
Daigle received the Exceptional Bravery for Civilians Award for risking his own safety while taking action to save a life.
“Bravery comes from the deepest instinct in a human,” State Police Superintendent Col. Henry Whitehorn said. “You reached out and made a difference. There are people today who owe you their lives.”
Hundreds of people owe troopers David Flauss and Mark Fontenot.
The New Orleans-based narcotics detectives rescued about 100 people from their homes on Aug. 29, 2005, hours after Hurricane Katrina slammed into south Louisiana.
The men also went on to help about 100 stranded New Orleans Police Department officers and their family members.
Flauss and Fontenot, who continued their search-and-rescue efforts for weeks after Katrina hit, earned the Meritorious Service Award.
Another trooper was honored for the injuries he received while on the job.
Trooper Robert Harrison stopped a car for a traffic violation April 4 on Interstate 10 east of Siegen Lane.
While Harrison was parked on the shoulder, a Ford pickup ran off the road and crashed into the car he had pulled over. The truck then struck Harrison, throwing him about 55 feet.
He landed back on the shoulder with compound fractures to both of his legs, abrasions to his elbow and cuts to his head. He then crawled to safety and radioed for help.
“I’m honored to be associated with these men and women,” Whitehorn said. “They embody loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.”
Also among those honored were Trooper First Class Chad Gremillion as plainclothes Trooper of the Year; Trooper First Class Sterling “Brett” Davis as uniformed patrol Trooper of the Year; and Officer Lisa Holden as Department of Public Safety Officer of the Year.