MPO Bristol

Pictured (L-R) are Gov. Bill Lee, First Lady Maria Lee, Lauren Bristol, State Sen. Becky Duncan Massey (R-Knoxville) and Homeland Security Commissioner Jeff Long.

The widow of Hendersonville Master Patrol Officer Spencer Bristol accepted one of the state’s highest awards on behalf of her husband on Thursday.

Bristol, who was struck and killed by a vehicle during a foot pursuit on Dec. 30, was one of five law enforcement officers to receive the state’s Three Stars of Tennessee Award at a ceremony at Hermitage Hills Baptist Church in Nashville.  

The Three Star awards are Tennessee’s highest awards honoring those who dedicated their lives for the safety and security of their fellow citizens.

Bristol was one of three officers to receive the award posthumously, along with Tennessee Highway Patrol Officer Matthew Gatti and Brentwood Police Department Officer Destin Legieza. All three officers died in the line of duty. 

In addition, Memphis Police Officer Jeffrey Creighton and Putnam County Paramedic Heather Birdwell received awards in the aftermath of severe and career-ending injuries they suffered in the line of duty.

State Sen. Becky Duncan Massey (R-Knoxville), Gov. Bill Lee, and Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Comm. Jeff Long presented the awards.

“Every day in Tennessee, brave men and women put on their uniforms and report for duty with the knowledge that they may pay the ultimate price for the job that they do,” said Massey. “It is very appropriate that the State of Tennessee honors the sacrifices made by Tennessee heroes like these who have demonstrated nobility through their selfless actions. No words seem adequate to express our gratitude and admiration for the brave men and women who dedicate their lives to selflessly serving others.”

Massey spearheaded legislation in 2014 to recognize law enforcement, firefighters and medical first responders who exhibit brave and heroic sacrifices in the line of duty.  This is the seventh presentation of the annual awards since passage of that act. The presentation is held close to Sept. 11 each year.  

In addition, First Responder Recipient awards were given to first responder agencies from state and local governments in Tennessee to honor their efforts to protect the public.

“The tragedy of 9-11 serves as a reminder each year of the sacrifices made by our first responders,” Massey added. “These awards are a small token of our appreciation for the jobs they do every day for our citizens.”

Bristol was a U.S. Navy veteran and had served with the Hendersonville Police Department for four years. He is survived by his wife Lauren and a three-year-old daughter.

Recommended for you