On Monday, Great Smoky Mountains National Park Ranger Brad Griest and Townsend Fire Department Volunteer Firefighter Christopher Scarbrough were honored in Washington DC for their actions that saved a life in 2011.

At the Department of the Interior's 69th Honor Awards Convocation, Griest was awarded the Valor Award, which is given to those who demonstrate unusual courage involving a high degree of personal risk in the face of danger.

Scarbrough received the Citizen's Award for Bravery, which recognizes private citizens for heroic acts or unusual bravery in the face of danger.

In December 2011, the two men rescued a barely conscious motorist who had crashed into the Little River at night. The fought the current and 45 degree water to get the door open, free the driver, get him on a rescue litter, and get him safely up a steep embankment to an ambulance.

"We are extremely proud of Ranger Griest, not only for the actions he took leading to this well-deserved recognition, but for also the actions he takes, along with his colleagues, every day to protect park visitors and resources," said GSMNP Chief Ranger Clay Jordan. "We also feel very fortunate that we are aided by such outstanding responders from the community such as Firefighter Scarbrough and the other members of the Townsend Fire Department."

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