JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A local hero spoke to members of a civics club to work to raise awareness of the job law enforcement officials do.
Arkansas Game and Fish Wildlife Officer, Michael Neal, visited the Newport Country Club on October 6th to talk to Kiwanis Club members.
Neal says he was pleased when the organization asked him to come and out talk, "I was very pleased and happy to come out and speak to them. It's a privilege to be able to come and speak to all the civic groups around the state. I really enjoy it."
Neal was instrumental in ending a gun fight in West Memphis on May 20th, where two officers were killed and two more were wounded."
Neal, while under gun fire, rammed his vehicle into the van carrying the two gunmen firing on officers.
He then engaged the two shooters, eliminating the threat.
Since then, Neal has received over twenty different awards for his actions on that day, which include three Medals of Valor, citations from the Arkansas House of Representatives, Arkansas State Senate, United State Senate and the 2010 Arkansas Game and Fish Wildlife Officer of the Year Award.
Neal says he speaks to groups about the incident in the hope that they will understand the full impact of what officers do.
"I want people to understand what law enforcement does and to get behind their law enforcement and support them. You know, we lay our lives on the line every time we walk out the door. May 20th two officers kissed their kids goodbye and never saw them again. It's very important for people to understand what we do."
Neal says the people he speaks to are often grateful and stunned to discover the enormity of the situation officers like Neal can find themselves in.
"People are very receptive. At the program I did last night, everyone was very receptive and they were pretty shocked to hear the whole story and hear what actually went on."
In October Neal will travel to Biloxi, Mississippi representing Arkansas in the Southeast Regional Officer of the Year Award.
If selected, he will go on to compete for National Officer of the year.
He has also been nominated to receive the Congressional Medal of Valor.