Lafayette-Sr. Tpr. Joseph R. Winters, a 10-year veteran of the Indiana State Police, has been recognized nationally for his lifesaving actions.
The American Association of State Troopers recognized Winters’ heroic actions by naming him the 2015 national Trooper of the Year for saving a family of three from a burning home. Winters will receive the award at a ceremony on August 3 at 10 a.m. at the Lafayette State Police Post, 5921 SR 43 North, W. Lafayette, IN. The media is invited to attend.
Winters was leaving for work the morning of April 10, 2014, when he noticed his neighbor’s house on fire. Knowing that the residents were elderly with limited mobility, Winters notified dispatch as he headed to the burning house.
Upon entering, Winters found the 11-year-old grandson sleeping on a couch. Smoke from the fire was building in the house and was just a few feet from the first floor ceiling. Winters took the boy outside and re-entered the home, going to the second floor, where he awakened the couple, both in their 70’s.
Winters guided the couple through the thick smoke and assisted them down the stairs and out of the house before the house was engulfed in flames. He directed the family to a safe area and then quickly performed a perimeter check for hazardous material. Winters then had to enter the house for a third time when he discovered the older male had re-entered. He again helped the man to safety.
Fire departments arrived on scene to battle the blaze. Winters remained on-scene to assist with scene control and traffic. He was treated at a local hospital for possible smoke inhalation.
Winters simply told his coworkers that he assisted at the scene of a fire. They did not learn of his heroic actions until a firefighter notified the ISP Lafayette post of details, stating that if it were not for Winters’ actions, multiple deaths would have likely been the result.
Winters risked his safety and his life to save the life of three people. For this reason, it is an honor for AAST to recognize him as the 2015 Trooper of the Year from a pool of candidates from across the country.
AAST is a national organization offering benefits and services to its member state troopers. For details visit www.statetroopers.org.