Pictured, from left, are Commissioner Sam Nolte, Chief Deputy Mike Coffman, Commission President Kristie Tenney, Sheriff Virgil Miller and Commissioner Doug Bush.

Upshur County Chief Deputy awarded Purple Heart for going ‘beyond the call of duty’ during active shooter incident in Lewis County

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission honored two men for their service to the community during an active shooter incident on I-79 northbound near the 99-mile marker on June 16, 2022.

The Upshur County Commission presented a Purple Heart to Mike Coffman, the Chief Deputy with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, after he was shot in the leg during a confrontation with the shooter.

“We appreciate that you went above and beyond the call of duty,” Upshur County Commission President Kristie Tenney said while presenting the Purple Heart on Thursday. “Shortly after [the incident], I spoke to your dad, and we were texting back and fort. He was so proud of you and the entire Sheriff’s Department and all the deputies — they really put their lives out there every day for us. I just want to tell you how much you mean to us. From the bottom of our hearts, we appreciate all of you. Today I would like to give you this Purple Heart and thank you for your service.”

Coffman thanked the commission for the honor but felt he didn’t deserve it more than any of the other officers who responded to the incident.

“I want to thank you all,” Coffman said. “I appreciate it, but I just want to say I don’t deserve it — or I didn’t do anything differently than any of the rest of these guys there. I feel like I don’t deserve anything for work because it’s just my job, just like any of the other guys you see here.”

Coffman credited the Assistant Director for the Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Derek Long, who witnessed the incident as it unfolded and provided valuable information to officers.

Pictured, from left, are Commissioner Sam Nolte, Assistant Director for the Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Derek Long, Sheriff Virgil Miller, Commission President Kristie Tenney and Commissioner Doug Bush.

“Realistically, Derek Long gets most of the credit, because everybody knew what was going on,” Coffman said. “If he were not doing that, we would have probably responded to that differently, and I think it could have been a lot worse, so I appreciate it.”

Coffman also thanked Sheriff Virgil Miller and Long for driving him to the hospital after he was shot.

“It’s humbling,” he said of the Purple Heart. “It’s something as a police officer you hope you never have to receive, but there are many officers out there who have, and I’m very blessed to be here to receive this today. It’s just it’s very, very humbling, and having the commission, the sheriff and the community’s support through the whole thing means everything.”

Coffman said he is close to transitioning from light duty now that he has recovered from his injury.

“It’s a good feeling to get back into the grind, but it’s a little bit different,” Coffman said. “I’m not going to tell you it’s not a little different, but I think that will get better.”

Tenney said the commission wanted to specifically thank Long for his service during the emergency.

“We want to recognize Derek Long for his outstanding service, above and beyond the call of duty,” Tenney said. “We appreciate what you did that day, and for the citizens of Upshur County and West Virginia, we just want to thank you very much for your service and what you’re doing here.”

Miller thanked Coffman, Long and other agencies for their service that day.

“We knew what was going on and it could have been a lot worse,” Miller said.”We could have gone in blind, if it hadn’t been for Derek. A lot of people could have gotten hurt. [Lewis County Sheriff] Dave [Gosa], I want to thank you for your cooperation and support from your department. I think the two departments worked so well together that day.”

Featured

SHOPS & SERVICES

Consolidated board determines North Kanawha will remain a two-way street

BUCKHANNON – The Consolidated Public Works Board voted to keep North Kanawha Street a two-way street after previously considering making it a one-way road. The CPWB took up two previously discussed traffic items during their Jan. 26 meeting. The board […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story — and thousands more. Free trial available! Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.

Barbour County man arrested for alleged sexual abuse of a juvenile in his care

BUCKHANNON — A Barbour County man who is listed on the West Virginia State Police’s Sex Offender Registry has been arrested for the alleged sexual abuse of a minor in his care. Kenneth D. Call, 52, of Belington, W.Va., was […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story — and thousands more. Free trial available! Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.

Buckhannon: Then & Now – Big snow in Upshur County

Buckhannon: Then & Now. Join us in showcasing Upshur County throughout history and today. Much like today, Buckhannon has experienced major snow accumulations throughout history. Pictured here, Buckhannon received a record breaking accumulation of 40

County commission tasks new owner of Holly Apartments with cleaning up the site, will reevaluate in 90 days

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission has given the new owners of the Holly Apartments building in Adrian 90 days to clean up the property. The Holly Apartments were considered a total loss after a fire spread throughout the whole […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story — and thousands more. Free trial available! Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.

SHOPS & SERVICES

Wesleyan lacrosse picked fifth in MEC preseason poll

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – West Virginia Wesleyan women’s lacrosse has been selected to finish fifth in the Mountain East Conference, the league announced today. WVWC totaled nine points in the vote. Frostburg State and Notre Dame College tied

Swim Bucs head into Saturday’s conference championship meet coming off strong final performance at home

BUCKHANNON — The Buckhannon-Upshur High School boys and girls swim teams will head into the Big 10 Conference Championships on Saturday with the current at their backs after winning 10 events in their final home meet of the season. The […]

Become a premium member to unlock immediate access to this story — and thousands more. Free trial available! Signing up is easy — just tap the button below.

Owens steps down as head coach of Lady Bobcat soccer program

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – Richard Owens has resigned as head coach of the West Virginia Wesleyan women’s soccer program, WVWC Athletic Department announced on Thursday. Owens spent five seasons as head coach of the Lady Bobcats,

SHOPS & SERVICES

Canaan Valley Resort to ski clinic for women Feb. 25-26

Davis, W.Va. (January 2023) – Offering more than seven hours of group and personalized ski instruction in a fun and supportive environment, Canaan Valley Resort will host a ski clinic for women by women February

Winter Blues Farmers Market returns Feb. 25

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Winter Blues is back! The indoor farmers market makes its return on Saturday, February 25. More than 60 vendors from across West Virginia will be on hand to sell products grown and