A Webster police officer is the first in Monroe County to receive the 2012 New York State Police Officer of the Year award.
Webster Police Officer Mark Reed has been recognized for his "exceptional valor" in response to the tragic Christmas Eve fire and ambush.
Reed assisted West Webster firefighters early that morning to a call of a car fire. Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering says Reed saved lives on that day, as he returned fire on the gunman allowing others to escape.
Pickering also adds Reed's actions were “heroic” and “making all first responders proud”.
Lt. Governor Bob Duffy presented Reed with a medal and plaque during a ceremony at the Webster Recreation Center. Reed says he was unaware that his department nominated him for the award. He says the honor is overwhelming.
"I struggle accepting an award like this,” he says. “I lost two friends that day, and two others were shot. Not a day goes by that I don't think about December 24, 2012. I’m fortunate to be here. I know that God had a plan for me that day, and that's why I was there."
Reed says he often asks the question 'why he's still alive' - when he lost two friends during the fatal Christmas Eve ambush in Webster. Those two friends were West Webster Fire Department volunteers: Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka.
Wounded officers Joe Hofstetter and Ted Scardino attended Thursday’s ceremony.
The Sheriff’s Office’s SWAT Team was also nominated for the state award.