West Virginians are famous for helping others in need, so it's no surprise that someone who does that type of thing for a living would excel.
Still, that doesn't keep us from shouting the praises of a local resident who's being recognized nationally for his heroic efforts and quick response in an intense emergency situation.
Today, Sgt. Greg Stalnaker of the Elkins detachment of West Virginia State Police and his wife will attend a banquet in Atlanta, Ga. It's there that Stalnaker will be presented with the American Association of State Troopers 2012 Trooper of the Year award.
Stalnaker is receiving the honor for his actions in the line of duty on Feb. 16, 2011. It was a day many Elkins residents, especially those on Central Street, will never forget.
Early that morning, Stalnaker was assisting a team of U.S. marshals with serving a warrant on Charles Smith. To the officers' surprise, gunfire erupted, as Smith was armed with a pistol in one hand and a shotgun in the other. From behind a closed door, Smith fired two shots. One of them struck and killed U.S. Deputy Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller. Two other marshals were wounded by debris and pellets.
Although it took only moments for the incident to unfold, Stalnaker stood his ground and returned fire, delivering the fatal shot to Smith that ended the ordeal.
Had it not been for Stalnaker's quick action, others may have been killed.
We salute you, Sgt. Stalnaker, for your dedication as a public servant and your true professionalism and bravery in putting a stop to the dangerous incident.