Troopers who cover Phelps County's jurisdiction are among the 31 troopers honored at the Missouri State Highway Patrol's annual awards ceremony.

Colonel Eric T. Olson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, congratulates the following employees who accepted awards at the Patrol's annual awards and The MASTERS banquet on Saturday, April 13.

Family, friends, and members of The MASTERS (Missouri Association of State Troopers Emergency Relief Society) gathered at the Drury Plaza Hotel Cape Girardeau Conference Center in Cape Girardeau, MO.

The Honorable Michael L. Parson, 57th governor of Missouri, provided the keynote address. Col. Olson presented the Patrol awards; Kevin Zoellner, president of The MASTERS, presented The MASTERS Public Service Award.


The following awards were presented April 13, 2019:

The MASTERS Public Service Award

Corporal Jonathon D. Fariole, Troop I


Corporal Jonathon D. Fariole and his wife promote epilepsy awareness, offer support and compassion to families affected by this condition, and started volunteering with the Epilepsy Foundation of Missouri and Kansas, Sky Granny Epilepsy, and VFW posts in Dent and Phelps counties to educate the community. At one event, over 50 community members, including dentists, nurses, daycare providers, local law enforcement, and troopers, learned how to recognize the signs of an individual suffering a seizure event. Cpl. Fariole organized a successful 5K event to raise awareness and donations for this cause. 


Superintendent’s Award For Excellence In Public Service


CVO Supervisor I Michelle A. Horn, Troop D


Commercial Vehicle Officer Supervisor I Michelle A. Horn's expertise has led her to serve as a trainer on the current rules and regulations affecting the trucking industry for local motor carriers. She actively trains newly assigned field training officers, and serves as an instructor on the topic of human trafficking as it relates to commercial vehicle enforcement. Supervisor Horn's participation in a Leadership in Policing Organizations course was instrumental in the re-implementation of the commercial vehicle officer position. She recently served as part of a Superintendent's CVO/CVI Focus Group. 


Lifesaving Award


Sergeant Todd M. Barthelmass, Q/GD

Sergeant Amy K. Johnson, Q/GD

Trooper James R. Sauer, Q/GD


On June 23, 2018, Sergeant Todd M. Barthelmass, Sergeant Amy K. Johnson, and Trooper James R. Sauer responded to a report of a collapsed patron at the roulette table at Lumiere Place Casino and Hotels in St. Louis, Missouri. The officers used an automated external defibrillator, provided cardiopulmonary resuscitation, recognized signs of an opioid overdose, and administered Narcan nasal spray. The man regained consciousness and emergency services personnel transported him to St. Louis University Hospital for treatment. He survived the incident. 


Sergeant Amy K. Johnson, Q/GD


On July 19, 2018, a vehicle arrived at Lumiere Place Casino and Hotels in St. Louis, Missouri, and stopped at the guard shack. The passenger exited the vehicle and stated the driver was experiencing a heroin overdose. Sergeant Amy K. Johnson arrived and turned off the vehicle. She and a casino employee then removed the driver from the vehicle. Sgt. Johnson administered Narcan and then began providing rescue breaths. St. Louis City Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services arrived and transported the man to the hospital for further treatment. He survived the incident. 


Sergeant Amy K. Johnson, Q/GD

Trooper Jordan A. Hilliard, Q/GD


On August 17, 2018, Sergeant Amy K. Johnson and Trooper Jordan A. Hilliard, both Q/GD, responded to the scene of an unconscious patron in the men's restroom at the Lumiere Place Casino and Hotels in St. Louis, Missouri. Based on their experiences and training, the officers believed the man was experiencing an opioid overdose. Sgt. Johnson administered Narcan, and then she and Tpr. Hilliard provided rescue breaths to the man. After a second dose, the man regained consciousness. The St. Louis City Fire Department Ambulance arrived and transported him to the hospital for treatment. He survived the incident.


Sergeant Douglas M. McDaniel, Troop E


On October 13, 2018, the Charleston, Missouri, Department of Public Safety dispatched an officer to a Casey's General Store where a man was reported to be on the ground and not breathing. Sergeant Douglas M. McDaniel, Troop E, arrived on the scene where two other troopers were assessing the man's condition. Sgt. McDaniel recognized signs of an opioid overdose and administered Narcan. The man responded slightly, but required an additional dose of Narcan before emergency medical services arrived and took him to the hospital for further treatment. He survived the incident.



Corporal Samuel V. Buchheit, Q/GD


On January 28, 2018, Corporal Samuel V. Buchheit responded to the Laclede’s Landing exit of the Lumiere Place Casino and Hotels in St. Louis, Missouri, where a female patron had collapsed, was not breathing, and had no pulse. Cpl. Buchheit provided rescue breaths while a casino employee administered chest compressions. An AED recommended continued cardiopulmonary resuscitation, so Cpl. Buchheit and the casino employee continued with CPR until emergency medical services arrived and transported her to the hospital. She survived the incident.


Corporal John E. Christensen, Q/GD

Trooper Parrish M. Lutz, Q/GD


On November 26, 2018, Corporal John E. Christensen and Trooper Parrish M. Lutz responded to a report of an unresponsive man outside the Ameristar Casino in Kansas City. They recognized the signs of a possible opioid overdose and administered Narcan to the unconscious man. Two additional doses of Narcan were necessary. The Kansas City Fire Department personnel arrived and placed the man into an ambulance. He was awake and talking to fire department personnel before being transported to the hospital for further treatment.


Corporal Joel E. Givens, Troop D

Trooper Travis L. Coffey, Troop D


On September 22, 2018, Corporal Joel E. Givens was involved in the pursuit of a felony suspect through Barry, Lawrence, and Christian counties. The pursuit ended when the suspect crashed his vehicle into a GMC SUV and an Aurora Police Department vehicle. The suspect exited his vehicle and climbed onto the hood of the GMC where he stood in a shooting stance holding a gun. Officers from the Aurora Police Department and Verona Police Department were also on the scene and discharged their weapons, striking the suspect multiple times. Cpl. Givens and Trooper Travis L. Coffey, who had arrived on the scene, immediately treated the suspect by affixing a Hyfin chest seal and two category five tourniquets, one on each leg. Tpr. Coffey applied a blood stopping chemical then direct pressure on the gunshot wounds. The officers' actions preserved the suspect’s life.


Corporal Jeremy R. McCurdy, Troop I


On February 11, 2018, Corporal Jeremy R. McCurdy was on patrol when he overheard radio traffic regarding an unresponsive female with cardiopulmonary resuscitation in progress. He responded and entered the residence where he found an elderly female attempting to render aid to a female lying on the floor. He believed the female showed signs of an opioid overdose and administered Narcan spray. He then provided rescue breaths until the female began breathing on her own. Ambulance personnel arrived, and as they were preparing to transport her, the female regained consciousness and was alert.


Corporal Shayne K. Talburt, Troop E

Corporal Jonathan T. Wilson, Troop E


On May 26, 2018, Corporal Jonathan T. Wilson was patrolling the Current River in Ripley County. He saw a family in distress after their inner tube flipped over, the ropes tying them together came loose, and the two adults and five children were thrown into the water. Corporal Shayne K. Talburt responded to Cpl. Wilson's call for assistance immediately. When Cpl. Talburt arrived, all five children were in Cpl. Wilson's vessel, which was taking on water due to the amount of weight and strong current. Cpl. Talburt transferred all five children into his boat while Cpl. Wilson went down river and rescued both adults. All seven people were transported to safety; they recovered from the incident. 


Corporal John J. West, Troop E


On February 8, 2018, Corporal John J. West overheard the Poplar Bluff Police Department dispatch a call regarding an armed, male subject inside a residence. He then heard two Poplar Bluff city officers report shots being fired, a suspect being taken into custody, and their request for multiple ambulances. Cpl. West responded and treated a seriously wounded female, who had suffered from gunshot wounds to her upper leg, left arm, and neck. Cpl. West and a Poplar Bluff police officer applied direct pressure on the wounds to stop the bleeding and used a towel as a tourniquet. Cpl. West also packaged the gunshot wound to the woman’s neck to stop the bleeding. These two officers then assisted paramedics in loading the woman into the ambulance. 


Corporal Kyle D. Wilmont, Troop I


On February 1, 2018, Corporal Kyle D. Wilmont responded to a medical emergency on Missouri Highway 19 near Salem, Missouri. When he arrived, he saw a female, who appeared panicked, leaning over another female. Cpl. Wilmont learned the second female had taken heroin and was unresponsive. Cpl. Wilmont realized her airway was blocked. He opened the woman’s airway by tilting her head, lifting her chin, and depressing her tongue. Her breathing returned, and Cpl. Wilmont found her pulse was getting stronger. He then administered sternum rubs for approximately five minutes before ambulance personnel arrived. The female was stabilized and transported to the hospital for treatment. 


Trooper Daren C. Belardo, Troop A


On July 29, 2018, Trooper Daren C. Belardo responded to assist the Benton County Sheriff’s Office at a residence in Warsaw, Missouri. After arriving, Tpr. Belardo and the deputies spoke to a resident at the address and learned his roommate was extremely upset, may have been drinking, and had ingested an unknown number of pills. The man said his roommate's whereabouts were unknown. Tpr. Belardo began a search around the residence and located the man hanging by his neck from a tree. Tpr. Belardo ran to the man's location, cut the cord, lowered the man to the ground, and initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation when no pulse or breathing was apparent. Tpr. Belardo and a deputy performed CPR for approximately 17 minutes until they were relieved by members of the Warsaw Lincoln Ambulance District. The man was stabilized and transported by Staff for Life to the hospital where he was treated further. 


Trooper Michael K. Halim, Troop C


On September 1, 2018, Trooper Michael K. Halim was off duty and walking with a friend near his home in St. Clair, Missouri. He observed two kayaks on the lake as he and his friend stood visiting. A short time later, Tpr. Halim saw the people were out of the kayaks and appeared to be swimming. Apparently, the young child stood up in the kayak and threw it off balance. The kayak capsized, throwing both the child and the man into the water. The woman in the second kayak went into the water to assist her daughter. All three were in distress, thus Tpr. Halim and his friend instantly entered the water, swam to where the subjects were, and got them safely to shore. 


Trooper Joseph V. BonDurant, Troop C 

Trooper Blake G. Groves, Troop C 

Trooper Quentin H. Hooks, Troop C

Trooper Christian J. Mendez, Troop C


On November 21, 2018, Trooper Quentin H. Hooks, Trooper Joseph V. BonDurant, Trooper Blake G. Groves, and Trooper Christian J. Mendez all responded to a traffic crash on Interstate 270 in St. Louis County. A vehicle had crashed into the center median; its driver unresponsive and trapped inside the vehicle. Officers worked together to extricate the driver through the passenger side of the vehicle then laid him on the ground. The officers then provided chest compressions and rescue breaths. Recognizing the signs of an overdose, a dose of Narcan was administered and cardio pulmonary resuscitation continued. After two more doses of Narcan, sternum rubs, and additional rescue breaths, the driver began breathing. Emergency medical technicians arrived and transported the man to the hospital where he made a full recovery.


Trooper Lee E. Hughes, Troop E


On April 5, 2018, Trooper Lee E. Hughes overheard and responded to a Poplar Bluff Police Department dispatch of a possible overdose. Tpr. Hughes arrived at the scene and located the male subject unconscious with very shallow breathing. The person who had reported the man’s condition was present and told Tpr. Hughes the man had ingested Xanax and heroin. Tpr. Hughes immediately administered a dose of Narcan to the male subject, who showed improved breathing afterward. Emergency medical services personnel arrived on the scene and took over his care. The man was transported to the hospital for future treatment. He survived the incident. 


Trooper Daniel D. Wohler, Q/GD


On June 7, 2018, Trooper Daniel D. Wohler was on duty at Ameristar Casino in Kansas City, Missouri, when security dispatch contacted him regarding a female who had overdosed. Tpr. Wohler responded to the hotel room, convinced the occupants to allow him to enter and assess the situation. Recognizing the signs of an opioid overdose, he administered Narcan to an unresponsive female. Members of the Kansas City Fire Department arrived, and after a few minutes, the woman became conscious. She was transported to a hospital for further treatment.



Meritorious Service Award


Trooper Andrew B. Ward, Troop D


On April 2, 2018, Trooper Andrew B. Ward was on patrol on Missouri Highway 39 when he overheard radio traffic requesting assistance of a marine officer. The Stone County Sheriff's Office had been involved in a vehicle pursuit followed by the foot pursuit of two suspects. The foot pursuit stopped when the male suspect jumped off a steep bluff into an area of Table Rock Lake not accessible by land. Tpr. Ward took immediate action, driving to Big M Marina where he changed into cold weather gear. He then operated a Donzi patrol boat to the scene where he found the suspect underneath a rock overhang, submerged in water up to his chin, and suffering from hypothermia. Tpr. Ward used a boat pole and issued commands until he got the suspect to the bank. He then secured the suspect in the personal floatation device before placing the suspect in handcuffs. Tpr. Ward wrapped a jacket and blankets around the suspect and then transported him to a boat ramp where an ambulance and Stone County deputies waited. Tpr. Ward returned to the scene with a deputy and located the female. She suffered from hypothermia and was taken into custody without incident. 



Mr. Scott M. LaHay


On April 4, 2018, Motor Vehicle Inspector I Scott M. LaHay, Troop C, was performing his routine duties when he drove up on a traffic crash on Missouri Highway 21 near Potosi, Missouri. A single vehicle had left the roadway and struck a tree. Inspector LaHay contacted Troop C communications, and then checked the vehicle for occupants. The man in the vehicle was trapped and suffering from a compound fracture to his left leg. A tourniquet was not possible, so Inspector LaHay affixed a trauma dressing to the area and applied pressure. He continued to comfort the man and obtained emergency contact information while the man was still conscious. When Potosi Fire District personnel arrived, Inspector LaHay assisted them in extricating the man, who was ultimately transported by Air Evac. He then stayed to direct traffic with a Washington County deputy while a wrecker service loaded the vehicle.


2018 Matilda "Tillie" Sonnen Civilian of the Year

Account Clerk III Dianne P. Stricker, Troop C


Account Clerk III Dianne P. Stricker began her career with the Missouri State Highway Patrol on September 1, 1969. For almost 50 years, she has displayed the agency's core values every day. Ms. Stricker takes time to speak with and get to know every employee and retiree. Throughout her career, she has connected with employees and retirees and helped them connect to one another. Ms. Stricker ensures that employees have what they need to perform their duties and is deeply concerned for their well-being and safety. She enjoys coming to work every day and it shows in her attitude and work ethic. She brightens everyone's day with her smile and laugh. 


2018 Benjamin Oliver Booth Officer of the Year

Trooper David L. Johnson, Troop D


During his 10-year career, Trooper David L. Johnson has excelled in traffic and drug enforcement. In 2018, he made over 2,000 arrests, including 22 driving while intoxicated arrests. He worked 58 traffic crashes and issued over 2,000 warnings. Tpr. Johnson is tenacious when it comes to enforcing Missouri's drug laws. One example is a traffic stop after he saw a vehicle displaying a stolen license plate on the front and a different plate on the back. His conversation with the driver led to a probable cause search yielding 12 grams of methamphetamine and $15,410 in U.S. currency. In June 2018, Tpr. Johnson attended training that focused on working child victimization cases. Over the next six months, he investigated 11 cases and arrested five suspects for a total of seven criminal charges. Tpr. Johnson is the consummate professional, always taking time to make a complete enforcement contact. He maintains a positive attitude, works as a team player, and has the respect of his peers and others in the law enforcement community.


Valor Award 

Trooper Matthew W. Neely, Troop H


On March 19, 2018, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department advised Troop H Headquarters of a theft in progress at a residence in Ridgeway, Missouri. Trooper Matthew W. Neely observed a vehicle matching the suspect vehicle description traveling southbound on Interstate 35 and attempted to overtake it. The vehicle exited Interstate 35 and traveled westbound on Missouri Route N in Daviess County, then slid through the intersection of Route N and U.S. Highway 69 and crashed into a utility pole. As Tpr. Neely arrived, the male driver and female passenger exited the vehicle. The male driver fled on foot. Tpr. Neely advised the passenger she was under arrest and to stay with the vehicle before beginning a foot pursuit after the driver. As Tpr. Neely chased the driver across an open field, the subject turned, raised a Glock handgun, and fired multiple shots at the trooper. Tpr. Neely obtained cover behind a field terrace. When the shooting stopped, he notified Troop H of shots fired and advanced on the subject while issuing commands that he drop his weapon. The suspect failed to comply and attempted to re-engage Tpr. Neely. Tpr. Neely then fired his Patrol issued weapon striking the suspect twice and stopping the threat. He and other officers on scene then provided first aid to the suspect until medical personnel arrived and transported the suspect to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. 


Purple Heart

Trooper Robert D. Crewse, Troop G


On July 18, 2018, Trooper Robert D. Crewse, Troop G, was wounded in the lawful performance of his duties. His wounds were nonlife-threatening. He was treated at the hospital and released.


These employees’ actions are a credit to themselves and reflect the core values of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Congratulations to each of them.