Joe Lindsey, a Conservation Enforcement Officer with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF), has been awarded the 2012 Alabama Legislative Medal of Honor. He received the award during a joint session of the Alabama Legislature held to honor the state’s law enforcement officers on Thursday, April 12, 2012.
The award is the highest given for law enforcement in the state and recognizes law enforcement officers for exceptional courage in the line of duty. Gov. Robert Bentley joined 19 other nominees from law enforcement agencies across the state for the ceremony.
Lindsey has received other awards during his tenure with ADCNR including the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Officer of the Year Award in 2007. However, he received this year’s Medal of Honor for two specific heroic acts.
In 2011, an off-duty Lindsey rescued a young boy from an airplane that crashed in Madison County. Officer Lindsey’s father is a licensed pilot and airplane owner, which gave him an understanding of the danger he was facing by entering the burning wreckage that was saturated with aviation fuel. Lindsey exhibited grace under pressure when he helped move the boy away from the crash scene and kept him calm until paramedics arrived. Three others were killed in the crash including the boy’s parents.
“Officer Lindsey had his wife and his eight-year-old son with him, and could easily have chosen to not become involved in the situation,” said WFF District 1 Law Enforcement Captain Johnny Johnson. “But he risked his life for an unknown stranger, and as a result the young boy survived.”
This is not the first time Lindsey has had the opportunity to save someone from harm while off duty. On Thanksgiving Day 2008, he was driving in Huntsville when he saw a van spewing smoke and flames. He immediately pulled over to assist and found a lady outside the van who indicated her daughter was inside. Because the daughter was mentally disabled and very frightened, she could not get out of the van on her own. Lindsey found a post from a nearby construction site and used it to break the glass in the van door. He was then able to pull the daughter out of the vehicle before it became completely engulfed in flames. When paramedics arrived he quietly left the scene.
Although Lindsey has risked his life for strangers more than once, he has avoided recognition for his heroism. It was only due to news footage from a Huntsville television station that Lindsey was identified as assisting in the aftermath of the plane crash. According to WFF Law Enforcement Chief Kevin Dodd, Lindsey’s actions speak to his character. “The fact that Joe is a humble, unassuming individual makes this award all the more appropriate,” said Dodd. “He is truly a class act.”
Lindsey is assigned to Madison County, where he lives with his wife and son.