News Release: Governor Rick Scott's Office
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, during a meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott recognized Deputy First Class Gregory Rittger of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office with the Medal of Heroism for his heroic actions and service to families in Central Florida. On July 23, 2013, while on patrol, Deputy First Class Gregory Rittger witnessed a truck speed past him on Avalon Park Boulevard in Orlando. The truck lost control and slid into a group of pine trees.
Deputy Rittger immediately approached the vehicle to assist the driver when he noticed smoke coming from the truck’s undercarriage. Deputy Rittger rushed to help pull the entrapped victim. As the flames intensified, Deputy Rittger used a crowbar to break the vehicle’s windshield in order to reach the victim who was unconscious and still in his seatbelt. Using his razor knife, Deputy Rittger cut the seatbelt and pulled the victim to safety just seconds before the truck became engulfed in flames. Deputy Rittger stayed with the victim until Orange County Fire Rescue arrived and transported the victim to the hospital.
Governor Scott said, “I am proud to recognize Deputy Gregory Rittger with the Medal of Heroism for his courageous actions and service to families in Central Florida. Deputy Rittger placed his own life in jeopardy in order to protect the well being of another. Thanks to his heroic actions the victim was pulled to safety and no one else was harmed during the incident. We thank heroes like Deputy Gregory Rittger for going beyond the call of duty and keeping Florida families safe.”
Major Ron Stucker, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, said, “Deputy First Class Rittger is a selfless professional, whose work ethic and desire to help others exemplifies the best qualities of a law enforcement officer. Deputy First Class Rittger strives to make his community safer by making a difference in the lives of those he encounters every day. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is proud that Deputy First Class Rittger is receiving this very prestigious and well deserved award.”
Deputy First Class Gregory Rittger said, “I am honored and humbled by this award. I would like to thank Governor Scott, the honorable cabinet members and the citizens of the State of Florida. As a First Responder, we all know our job is inherently dangerous, however we really don’t think about the danger, we simply react to someone needing help. Maybe it’s our nature, or maybe it’s God’s calling but we instinctively just want to help. We don’t do it for praise or medals; we do it knowing that, if we at least try, we could make a difference.”