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Humble Hometown Heroes Honored for Helping End Nationwide Search
SPRINGFIELD -- One week after Michaela Bruce, 14, and Mark Edwards, 44, went missing, Clark County celebrates the people who helped find them.
We first introduced you to Ramondo Brandon and Walter Portman Saturday, after they helped end the three-day search for Michaela Bruce and Mark Edwards.
"I seen them come from around the corner over here. They were all hugged up," Portman told ABC22/FOX45 Saturday.
Portman made the 9-1-1 call when he notice the pair at a Clark Gas station Friday night.
"The people that you have on TV that are on the news, the girl and the guy...they're at the convenience mart at Selma Road and John Street right now," Portman told the 9-1-1 operator.
And Thursday, Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly wanted to make sure the two were honored.
"It's a token of my appreciation," Sheriff Kelly said to Portman. "It's a Visa gift card for $100. Spend it however you want. Take the family out. Do whatever with it but I thank you. And an outstanding citizen award presented to you Romano Brandon for your valiant service to this community to bring this to a peaceful resolution. I can't tell you what it means to have the community come together and to work together."
Sheriff Kelly wants to use this story as proof that what they do as law enforcement does not fall solely on them but it is an entire community effort.
"It's people taking ownership of their community and bringing this to a resolution that was positive for the fugitive and positive for this child," said Kelly.
"I asked God if I could be the one to find him and I prayed and by chance I happened to be riding down Selma Road," said Brandon who is a self-defense instructor that used to train Edwards.
Brandon convinced Edwards to let him drive them to the sheriff's office. But the 911 call was already placed and police caught up with them and took the two in custody without incident.
"I talk to him and convinced him to give himself up for the reasons that were. Marshals are looking for him. They don't play. FBI is looking for him and they don't play," Brandon said.
"I'm grateful but I believe the true heroes are the Springfield police with their fast response to the situation," said Portman.
Brandon's wife was also in the van with him. She wasn't able to make the ceremony but will also receive a plaque and a gift card.
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