Trump Honors First Responders For Action During I-85 Collapse

Atlanta Fire Chief Joel Baker, shakes hands with President Donald Trump as he presents him with an axe as Trump meets with first responders from the I-85 bridge collapse in Atlanta in the Roosevelt Room in the White House, Thursday, April 13, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Credit Andrew Harnik / Associated Press
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President Donald Trump honored 15 officers from the Georgia State Patrol, Atlanta Police and Atlanta Fire Department at the White House Thursday.

Trump praised them for their “amazing bravery” and quick response after a section of the Interstate 85 Bridge collapsed in Atlanta on March 30.

“On that day, Georgia State police and Atlanta police took fast action to get motorists away from danger,” Trump said. “Then our brave fire fighters battled 40-foot flames, which was incredible.”

Trump said he stands with Georgia as it works to repair the I-85 bridge.

“What happened in Atlanta is a painful reminder of the critical importance of infrastructure, which we’re going to be doing a lot with infrastructure, you’ll be seeing that over the coming weeks. Tremendous amount,” he said. “I’m committed to funding a massive nationwide infrastructure program to rebuild, repair and construct the roads and bridges of the future of this country.”

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Cho also praised their work, recapping the public safety response after the bridge collapsed to Trump during the meeting.

“I told them that you were really approachable,” Chao said. “They were a little bit apprehensive about meeting you. So they’re just so thrilled. You have done the first-responder community a tremendous honor by honoring them.”

City of Atlanta Fire Chief Joel Baker said he was grateful for the opportunity.

“This is not only a great day for City of Atlanta, Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, but all of the public safety personnel throughout the country that you’re recognizing public safety members,” Baker said.

Trump said he was honored to meet them and tweeted a photo from the Oval Office after the event.

Trump joked with the officers, asking the bravest person in the room to raise their hand.

“Who knows, maybe you’ll become a movie star?” Trump said after asking them to introduce themselves.

He also joked that Chief Baker couldn’t be six feet and six inches tall.

“No, I think you’re taller than that,” Trump said. 

Here is the list of honorees from the White House: 

  • Joel Baker, Atlanta Fire Rescue Department
  • Battalion Chief Douglas Hatcher, Atlanta Fire Rescue Department
  • Battalion Chief James McLemore, Atlanta Fire Rescue Department
  • Captain Arthur Adkins, Atlanta Fire Rescue Department
  • Sergeant Anthony Campbell, Atlanta Fire Rescue Department
  • Assistant Chief of Police Rodney Bryant, Atlanta Police Department
  • Sergeant Ryan Heald, Atlanta Police Department
  • Officer Ryan Severance, Atlanta Police Department
  • Officer Michael Baker, Atlanta Police Department
  • Sergeant First Class Thomas Kustra, Georgia State Patrol
  • Sergeant First Class John Cronin, Georgia State Patrol
  • Trooper First Class 2 Thomas Burkett, Georgia State Patrol
  • Trooper First Class 2 Harold Tisdale, Jr., Georgia State Patrol
  • Trooper First Class 1 John Giunta, Georgia State Patrol
  • Trooper First Class 1 Kendell McKoy, Georgia State Patrol