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OGDEN — Weber County Sheriff’s Lt. Nathan Hutchinson was one of 22 public safety officers honored for their quick thinking, and selfless and exceptional courage Wednesday at the White House.
Hutchinson was presented the Medal of Valor by Vice President Joe Biden.
"No doubt in my mind that Nate saved lives that night,” said South Ogden Police Chief Darin Parke. “He acted tremendously. For him to be able to get an award and recognition for this was not something he would seek out on his own."
On Jan. 4, 2012, six officers from the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force were shot while serving a warrant on a suspected drug house when they were ambushed by the homeowner, Matthew David Stewart.
Hutchinson knew he had already been shot twice, was out of ammunition and that a heavily armed gunman was waiting for him inside the house he had just escaped from.
But instead of seeking cover, he ran right back inside without hesitation.
“He put himself just selflessly in harm’s way to save his fellow brothers,” Weber County Sheriff Terry Thompson said.
He's just that type of person. He's selfless, kind. He's a fun person to be around, but he's also dedicated to protecting the public and protecting his other officers.
–South Ogden Police Chief Darin Parke
Ogden police officer Jared Francom, 30, was killed in the shootout. It was Francom's unconscious body that Hutchinson went back into the house to drag out.
“I am absolutely convinced had he not done that, we would have had a couple — at least one or two more officers — who would have paid the ultimate price that day,” Thompson said.
Hutchinson was shot two more times in the process. He was shot in both arms — his right arm shattered — and in the ribs and hip. Hutchinson was actually shot a fifth time, but he doesn't count that one. The bullet struck the badge on his hip.
"The actions he demonstrated that day were truly selfless,” Thompson said. “He acted with great bravery, great courage, in the protection of his brothers in that shooting."
Parke said Hutchinson’s actions that night didn’t surprise him.
“He’s just that type of person,” Parke said. “He’s selfless, kind. He’s a fun person to be around, but he’s also dedicated to protecting the public and protecting his other officers.”
For risking his own life by running directly into the line of fire not once, but twice, Hutchinson was awarded with the Congressional Badge of Bravery Oct. 14, 2014. He was presented with the honor by Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee.
Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc