Midland City Standoff Heroes Honored

It has been months since all eyes were on Midland City during a week long hostage standoff.

Charles Poland

It has been months since all eyes were on Midland City during a week long hostage standoff.

In trying times, true characters are revealed.

And in the beginning, middle, and end of the hostage situation in Midland City heroes emerged.

Charles Poland Jr. gave his life protecting the students on his school bus from Jimmy Lee Dykes.

Vice President of the SE Regional Society of Former FBI Special Agents Sterling Owen said, "And he stepped up and took the risks that often times law enforcement takes and he paid the ultimate cost."

Mr. Poland's unparalleled courage has earned the reverence of top law enforcement agents. The Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI named him a "Society Hero."

Sterling Owen said, "The Mobile Chapter of former agents came up with the suggestion that we might want to recognize Mrs. Poland and the family for this particular situation. Which resulted in the society hero award."

The heroes throughout the standoff started with Mr. Poland ... and ended with those working effortlessly to rescue 5-year-old Ethan.
That FBI team behind the operations in Midland City is up for a special honor. They are among 31 finalists for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, a top award for civilian federal employees across the country.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Steve Richardson said, "To represent this team is hard to put into words. To be associated with such great people that have accomplished so much throughout their career is hard to explain. But I am certainly honored and feel very blessed to be associated with that group of individuals."

And as hearts continue to heal, Mr. Poland's daughter says she is humbled by her father's recognition as a hero, something she has known her entire life. Lydia Hancock said, "He was a dad, he was a rock in our family, he was the foundation, a solid foundation for our family."

The special agents also said they are inspired by the Poland's message of courage, responsibility, compassion and forgiveness.

The winner of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal will be announced in October.

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