The U.S. Coast Guard has presented a Certificate of Valor to Gulfport firefighter Lawrence Burkhalter. The Coast Guard says in a news release that Burkhalter is being honored for his efforts in the rescue of a State of Mississippi port employee.
Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Ponte, commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Gulfport, says on Dec. 10, 2010, Roy Lang fell 20 feet off of West Pier 7 into 48-degree water in the Gulf Harbor. With the freezing temperatures and inability to recover, Lang became hypothermic and unresponsive.
Ponte says after two attempts at positioning Lang in a stokes litter basket, Burkhalter securely lifted him onto a Coast Guard vessel.