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Memorial Medal
Armand E. Van Cleave


Shively Police Department
Shively, Kentucky
April 25, 1974

 

The following biography appears in the National EMS Memorial Book:

In the 1970's the Shively, Kentucky Police Department recruited auxiliary police officers. They also provided ambulance service for the city of Shively. This group of officers gave two or three hours a week to help in the back up of the police force when called upon. The auxiliary recruits received a token of $1.00 a year for their service. Officer Van Cleave often gave more than a couple of hours; he would stay late on Friday nights after completing his regular job as an electrician to be such a volunteer.

On April 25, 1974, a Friday night, Armand Van Cleave, along with two police officers, answered an emergency call of a man in duress, possibly suffering heart failure. Van Cleave was in the back seat with the patient enroute to the hospital with blue lights flashing and sirens screaming when the police vehicle collided with a car at an intersection. Officer Van Cleave was critically injured and his patient was killed. He was transported to a nearby hospital where he died the following day.

Armand Van Cleave, 43, stated, "You just don't know the feeling you have when you're helping people, and maybe saving someone's life." "He wasn't really happy unless he was helping people," recalled his family and friends. He had a real passion for his auxiliary police work.

Armand worked as an electrician for the Henderson Electric Company, and was a veteran of the Korean War. He coached the St. Lawrence Elementary School football team. Then he moved up to coach for the Western High School youth program, allowing him the pleasure of coaching his sons.

 

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