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NEWS | Jan. 22, 2021

Fort Eustis policeman awarded for saving life

By Staff Sgt. Joshua Magbanua 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

A Fort Eustis police officer received an official commendation Jan. 19, for a life-saving deed he
performed while responding to an emergency.

Charles Tipper, assigned to the 733rd Security Forces Squadron, received the Department of the Air Force Command Civilian Award for Valor for helping save the life of an infant in May, 2020.

“One of the important things about being a police officer is being prepared and knowing what to do… you’ve got to be ready for anything,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. James Pacheco, 733rd SFS commander. “Officer Tipper was the first one there [on scene]. He took immediate action and potentially saved a baby’s life. There are tons of examples of the things you [Tipper] do; this is just one special day that we want to recognize you with this medal.”

According to the official citation, Tipper responded to assist with a medical emergency on the installation. He arrived ahead of the medical personnel, and was met by a frantic mother who handed him her infant child—who was struggling to breathe and turning blue. Tipper calmly checked the child’s mouth and provided CPR, which enabled the child to breathe. Medical personnel arrived and transported the child to the hospital where he made a full recovery.

The officer’s calm demeanor and medical knowledge contributed immeasurably to the survival and recovery of the child, the citation added.

While remaining modest and succinct about his achievement, Tipper mentioned how the event “hit home” to him—since he himself has a young toddler.

“If this was my child, I would have done the exact same thing,” he said. “As a father, a police officer and a first responder, any time we save a life it’s always a good thing.”

Tipper added that this was the first time he had to use CPR in his career. He first learned the skill while serving as a military policeman in the Navy, and has maintained his proficiency ever since.

“I recommend that everybody should learn CPR, or some type of life-saving class,” Tipper said. “It is a perishable skill, and could be used to save someone’s life one day.”

After receiving the award, Tipper took a lunch break with his family and then went right back to work—continuing to serve and protect the Fort Eustis community along with the rest of his fellow police officers.