On January 14, 2002, the Charter for the Medal of Valor Review Board was signed by the Attorney General. As required by the legislation, the eleven-member board was appointed by the President, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the U.S. Senate, and the Speaker and the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The board, which comprises representatives of the public safety community and the general public, reviews the nominations and recommends individuals for recognition.
Chief Whipple has spent his entire working life devoted to public service, and in particular as an emergency responder. Early in his career, he was certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and worked on a part-time basis in New Hampshire for almost five years. He also served with the East Barre Fire Department; held the positions of dispatcher, patrol officer, juvenile officer, and investigator; and served as the Chief of Police in two Vermont police agencies. He currently serves as Chief of Police for South Burlington—the third largest municipal police department in Vermont. Chief Whipple attended Northeastern University, obtained an Associate's degree from Castleton State College, a Bachelor's degree from Johnson State College, and received his Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Vermont. He also teaches criminal justice, paralegal, and pre-law courses at the Community College of Vermont and Woodbury College.
Abbey Johnston has been a Firefighter/Paramedic for the Lynchburg Fire Department in Lynchburg, Virginia since 2004. She earned the rank of Captain in 2014 and is currently assigned to the Training Division as the EMS Training Captain. She served as President of the Lynchburg Firefighters Association, Local 1146, a subsidiary of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) for 3 years. In 2009, Captain Johnston attended the State of the Union Address as a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama as a result of her work on behalf of the IAFF at the local and state level. Captain Johnston earned an Associate’s Degree when she became a Paramedic in 2007 and later earned a B.S. in Public Administration from Liberty University, graduating summa cum laude.
Captain Gaynor joined Connecticut's Meriden Police Department in 1996, where he was promoted to Detective in 2005 and Lieutenant in 2007. In 2012, Gaynor was promoted to Captain and Detective Division Commander. He served on active duty with the Marine Corps for 4 years and is a veteran of Operation Desert Shield. He graduated from Saint Leo University and is completing his Master's degree in Criminal Justice Management at American Military University.
Retired Sheriff Rick Clemons began his career in law enforcement as a patrolman with the Leitchfield Police Department in 1987. He graduated from the Department of Criminal Justice Training Center in Richmond, KY in 1989. After serving with the city police for almost 20 years, he was elected Grayson County Sheriff in 2007. He served two 4-year terms as sheriff until his retirement on January 1, 2015. Sheriff Clemons has been extremely instrumental in the implementation of numerous community-oriented programs. He is a member of the Kentucky Sheriff's Association, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Kentucky Peace Officers’ Association, and is a board member of the Criminal Justice Program at the Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.
Joanne Hayes-White was sworn in as the 25th Chief of the San Francisco Fire Department on January 16, 2004. Chief Hayes-White oversees a Department of approximately 1,500 members and an operating budget of $300 million. She is responsible for providing fire, emergency medical services, special operations, and public education to 775,000 residents of the City and County of San Francisco. As Chief, she has enhanced community-based programs through the Department’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT), San Francisco Firefighters in Safety Education (SFFISE), and Senior Home Safety and Asthma Outreach programs. She was hired as a Firefighter in April 1990, promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1993, and to the rank of Captain in January 1996. In May 1996 she was made acting Battalion Chief with oversight of the department’s dispatch and communications systems. Promoted to Assistant Deputy Chief in 1998, she was responsible for the Division of Support Services, the Bureau of Communications, the Bureau of Equipment, the Bureau of Engineering and Water Supply, Management Information Systems, and all facility repairs, maintenance, and renovations.
Chief Hayes-White graduated from the University of Santa Clara with a degree in business. She is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and served on the Terrorism and Homeland Security Committee. In June 2007, she was selected to serve on the National Advisory Council to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In April 2010, Chief Hayes-White was selected as one of six Senior Fire Officials by the U.S. Fire Administration, Fire Protection Publications/International Fire Service Training Association, International Fire Chiefs Association, and the National Fire Protection Association for a fellowship to attend the Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program.