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Two W.Va. State Police troopers honored for 'exceptional performance'

Cpl. Clayton Ellwanger earned a medal for meritorious service, and Trooper Joe Bush earned a medal for life saving

April 11, 2013

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Two West Virginia State Police troopers assigned to detachments in the Eastern Panhandle were honored Wednesday for “exceptional performance” of their duties, the agency announced.

Cpl. Clayton Ellwanger in Berkeley County was awarded a medal for meritorious service, and Trooper Joe Bush in Jefferson County received a medal for life saving, according to state police.

Longtime civilian employee Elsie Coleman, who now serves as Troop 2 clerk at the agency’s Charles Town, W.Va., office, received the Superintendent’s Civilian Service Award.

Col. C.R. “Jay” Smithers said Ellwanger saved a woman’s life by confronting her estranged husband, who held her at knifepoint and threatened to kill her in a domestic incident in April 2005.

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The man, Michael Yurish, was shot by Ellwanger, who continued to attempt to attack the victim with a knife while being shot, Smithers said in prepared remarks.

Yurish died at the scene.

“Despite grave danger to himself, Cpl. Ellwanger confronted Mr. Yurish to save Mrs. Yurish’s life in a manner consistent with the meritorious conduct of a West Virginia state trooper,” Smithers said.

Bush was recognized for saving a man’s life after finding him attempting suicide in July 2011.

The man was found unconscious and hanging by a rope around his neck in the backyard of his residence, Smithers said.

Bush cut the rope and administered a sternum rub to the man to help revive him. The man regained consciousness and later made a full recovery, Smithers said.

Coleman began her career with West Virginia State Police in 1974 in South Charleston, W.Va., and later transferred to the Eastern Panhandle, Smithers said.

Coleman has held several positions with the agency, including driver’s examiner, radio dispatcher and office assistant, and had spent most of her career as the office assistant in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., before accepting her current position in 2010, Smithers said.

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