On the morning of August 29, 2005, one of the nation’s most powerful hurricanes approached the Alabama Gulf Coast. As Hurricane Katrina barreled in packing 100 miles per hour winds, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Marine Resources Officer Major John T. Jenkins – known as J.T. to colleagues, family and friends – braved the rising waters to lead his men in the rescue of 30 people in Bayou La Batre who were trapped by the storm. Today he received the Legislative Medal of Honor for Law Enforcement Officers from Gov. Bob Riley and the Alabama Legislature during a ceremony in the House Chamber in Montgomery.
“Major Jenkins is being recognized by the state of Alabama based on his outstanding accomplishments and heroism during the Hurricane Katrina crisis,” said State Rep. Howard Sanderford, R-District 20, who chairs the Continuing Joint Legislative Committee to Award the Legislative Medal of Honor for Law Enforcement Officers that presents the state’s highest law enforcement award. “We stop the entire governmental process on award day, both in the Senate and the House, to unite together to annually recognize law enforcement officers with this award.”
The committee reviews nominations statewide from the chief or head of state and local law enforcement agencies to determine recipients. This year, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner M. Barnett Lawley nominated Major Jenkins for his dedication to conservation and to the people of Alabama. “The storm took many lives in neighboring Mississippi and Louisiana,” said Lawley. “But due to rescue actions of J.T., his men, and many others, Alabama did not have any storm-related fatalities.”
Jenkins was one of 11 nominees for the annual award which was adopted by the state legislature in 1995. To date, a total of 23 recipients have received the award honoring officers for their outstanding and/or heroic actions.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com.