March 3, 2023

DES MOINES, Iowa - Governor Kim Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg and Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens honored heroic citizens and First Responders at the 2022 Sullivan Brothers’ Award of Valor and Governor’s Lifesaving Awards ceremony held this morning in the Iowa Capitol Rotunda. A total of 14 individuals from communities across the state were recognized for their courageous responses.

“I look forward to this event every year. It’s powerful to hear each unique, incredible story... and it’s an honor to congratulate the heroes personally. When I do, I always hear the same type of response: “I did what anyone else would have done,” or “that’s what Iowans do in times of need,” said Governor Kim Reynolds. “That response is far too modest, but it does capture something special about Iowa. The greatness of our state really does lie in our people. Iowans are big-hearted and selfless—and each of our award winners demonstrates just how deeply those qualities run.”

Added Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens, “These Iowans intentionally and selflessly provided aid and assistance in times of need. It’s an honor to celebrate those who placed the needs of others above their own and answered the call to serve.” 

The Governor’s Lifesaving Awards Program recognizes recipients in four different categories including:
Meritorious Service, which is awarded to those individuals in recognition of courageous and unselfish service rendered during a time of distress. 
Outstanding Service, which is presented to persons who have performed a courageous act in an attempt to save an individual who was in danger of losing his or her life or to individuals who unselfishly rendered service in a time of emergency.
Lifesaving, which is awarded to those individuals who have attempted to save the life of another individual, but did not put their own life in jeopardy. 
Lifesaving with Valor, which is awarded to those individuals who at the risk of their own life, attempted to save that of another.

The Governor’s Lifesaving Awards honored 10 civilians:

•    Tom Flanery, Panora - Meritorious Service Award
•    Kristin Albertson, Decorah - Outstanding Service Award
•    Jacquelyn Bear - Outstanding Service Award
•    Trisha Keim - Outstanding Service Award
•    Dan Pauley - Outstanding Service Award
•    Brody Oberbroeckling - Lifesaving Award
•    Timica Shivers - Lifesaving Award
•    Cory Fleming - Lifesaving with Valor Award
•    Richard Kopera - Lifesaving with Valor Award
•    Herbert "Runk" Wood - Lifesaving with Valor Award

The Sullivan Brothers’ Awards of Valor honors the memory of George, Frank, Joe, Matt and Albert Sullivan – all in their 20’s – who served together on the USS Juneau in the Guadalcanal naval battle in the fall of 1942. All five brothers died together in a tragic attack when two Japanese torpedoes struck their ship. 
This year’s ceremony featured the participation of Kelly Sullivan, the granddaughter of Albert Sullivan, the youngest of the Sullivan brothers. Kelly is a third-grade teacher in Waterloo who sits on the commissioning committee of the new USS Iowa and also commissioned the USS The Sullivans. A total of four First Responders were honored at today’s ceremony:

•    Marshall County Deputy Ben Veren
•    Former Marshalltown Police Department Sergeant Casee Veren
•    Iowa State Patrol District 10 - Trooper Devin Brooks
•    Iowa State Patrol District 10 - Trooper Boyd Eser

Click for event photos:
Click to visit the web page for lifesaving summaries and recipient photos
Click to see a recording of the Facebook livestream.

To make future nominations, or for general information on the Sullivan Brothers’ Award of Valor and Governor’s Lifesaving Awards, visit the DPS website.


The Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) is the largest law enforcement agency in the state. It includes six divisions and several bureaus, all working together with local, state and federal government agencies and the private sector, to keep Iowa a safe place by following our core values: leadership, integrity, professionalism, courtesy, service and protection. Divisions within the Iowa DPS: Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa State Fire Marshal Division, Iowa Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center, and Administrative Services Division. The Department of Public Safety is led by the Commissioner who is appointed by the Governor.

Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 E 7th St
Des Moines IA 50319