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Officer who confronted Great Mills shooter honored for bravery

Joe Funk of the Association of Former Agents of the U.S. Secret Service; DFC Blaine Gaskill; Daniel Kurz, from the Baltimore Field Office of the Secret Service; Barbara Dinsenbacher, Harry E. Neal Jr. and Sheriff Tim Cameron

LEONARDTOWN, Md. - Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office was honored with the Harry E. Neal Award on Wednesday at Historic St. Mary’s City. The award, presented by the Association of Former Agents U.S. Secret Service, is given to several law enforcement officers annually who have performed outstanding service to the community in the form of a heroic act or extraordinary investigation.

DFC Blaine Gaskill and the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office Color Guard

Each officer awarded receives a plaque and a check for $1,000 from the Foundation of the Association of Former Agents of the U.S. Secret Service.

DFC Gaskill, Great Mills High School’s School Resource Officer, responded to a student shooting at the school on March 20, 2018. Gaskill confronted the armed subject and prevented any further loss of life.

Sheriff Tim Cameron noted the other accomplished law enforcement officials who had been awarded with the Harry A. Neal Award in the past such as the Texas Rangers, the U.S. Capitol Police Department officers and Alexandria, Virginia Police Department officers who responded to an attack at a Republican congressional baseball practice, and Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr, who helped save President Ronald Reagan’s life in a 1981 assassination attempt.

Barbara Dinsenbacher, DFC Blaine Gaskill and Harry E. Neal Jr.

With past award recipients, “Gaskill is in outstanding company,” Cameron said.

“The company that Gaskill keeps is inspiring,” Capt. Steve Hall, Special Operations Division Commander, said.

DFC Gaskill began his career with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office in 2009 as a Corrections Officer and became a Deputy Sheriff in August 2012. 

Harry E. Neal was a former Assistant Chief of the U.S. Secret Service. His son and daughter, Harry E. Neal Jr. and Barbara Dinsenbacher, attended the ceremony held at the replica State House at Historic St. Mary’s City.

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