Washington, DC – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor today to announce his appointment of Deputy U.S. Marshal Richard “Joe” Gardner to the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Board. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Sometimes all it takes to be a hero is to do your job the way you’re supposed to do it.
“Just a few days after New Year’s, a deranged gunman walked into the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in downtown Las Vegas. In addition to housing our federal courts, that’s also the building where my staff works, and Senator Ensign’s staff, and many other employees of the people of the state of Nevada.
“Court Security Officer Stanley Cooper and Deputy U.S. Marshal Richard J. Gardner – everyone calls him ‘Joe’ – were on duty that day. They were both in the lobby when the gunman got there. Both of them were shot. Officer Cooper didn’t make it – he died in the line of duty. I met his family and spoke at his funeral earlier this year, and I know they still miss him every day.
“Joe Gardner was more fortunate. He returned fire on the gunman. He, too, was hit while protecting the people who work in and visit the courthouse. But he survived.
“We can never know for sure how many lives were saved because Officer Cooper gave his, or because U.S. Marshal Gardner put his own life at risk. And they can never know just how grateful we are for their courage.
“I am proud to say that I have appointed this exemplary Nevadan – U.S. Marshal Joe Gardner – to the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Board. Because if anyone knows what bravery is, it is Joe Gardner.
“Seven federal law enforcement officers serve on this board for two-year terms. I want to express my appreciation to my friend the Republican Leader, Senator McConnell, for joining me in making sure Joe Gardner is one of them. It was an easy choice.
“Too often, we take these heroes for granted. We pass them on the street or on our way through an office building’s lobby. There are precious few like U.S. Marshal Joe Gardner: good men and women who wake up every morning, go to work and put everything on the line to protect people they don’t even know.
“They will tell you they’re just doing their jobs. And we should fulfill our responsibility just as often – by thanking them every single day.”