Officers Leonard Kunka and Kyle Auckland with the Kent Police in Kent, Ohio, were recently honored for their bravery in a dangerous incident from January 2021.
On the morning of Jan. 16, 2021, police got a call around 8 a.m. of a burglary in progress at a duplex.
More police arrived on the scene and helped to subdue and arrest Dixon, who was still fighting being detained. Later investigation showed that Dixon had shot himself as well as both officers. The officers hadn’t fired during the altercation.
Kunka’s hand required surgery and physical therapy before he could return to work. Thankfully, Auckland had been wearing a vest, a fact that he credits with saving his life.
Dixon was treated at the time for his injuries, and today resides at the Grafton Correctional Institution. He was given a sentence of 38 to 42 years in prison but is appealing that in the 11th District Court of Appeals.
While all that transpired last year, the two officers were recently officially recognized for their bravery by the American Red Cross of Greater Akron and the Mahoning Valley, which presented its 2022 Acts of Courage awards earlier this month.
Five other recipients also received the awards, including a professional model, a vacationing teenager, an off-duty firefighter, a municipal recreation worker and an assistant middle school principal for their exemplary actions, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
The officers didn’t want to rehash that morning in January, but they were grateful.
“It was a privilege to stand with my brother and receive recognition amongst the other recipients of this award,” Kunka said. “Their stories are beautiful accounts that show paying attention and caring for your fellow man can truly make a difference.”
Others were more lavish in their praise for the officers.
“These men acted selflessly, rushing toward danger and putting themselves in harm’s way to protect two innocent children from a gunman who had forced his way into a home,” Kent Police Lieutenant Mike Lewis said. “Acts of courage like this embody what it means to be a hero.
“Kent police could not be more proud of Officer Lenny Kunka and Officer Kyle Auckland. We are grateful for the recognition that the Red Cross and so many others have bestowed upon these officers for their heroic actions.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.