An Act of Valor Virtual Ceremony

Video coming soon.

We invite you to join the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives for a virtual ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. as we graciously accept the donation of a special object: the Act of Valor Award given to Officer Tim Matson for his bravery in the line of duty during the synagogue attack on October 27, 2018.

That morning, hundreds of law enforcement officers rushed to the synagogue in Squirrel Hill to protect members of the three congregations—Dor Hadash, New Light, and Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha—that were worshipping in the building at the time and the broader public. Officer Tim Matson was among the initial responding city police officers at the scene, and he was wounded alongside his fellow city officers Michael Smidga, Daniel Mead and Anthony Burke.

One of the congregants who survived the attack was Dan Leger. Leger is a longtime nurse and hospital chaplain, and he had been preparing for services with Congregation Dor Hadash at the time of the attack. He was taken for treatment to the same local hospital where Matson was being treated. Upon learning that one of the officers who had saved his life was in a room nearby, Leger set himself a physical therapy goal: to gather enough strength to visit Officer Matson. The fortitude, courage and friendship of these two men was a rare moment of hope during those dark weeks following the attack.

In November 2019, Matson and his fellow officers were each given the Act of Valor Award for their bravery that day. In a spirit of friendship and mutual gratitude, Matson gave his award to Leger. In turn, Leger is donating the award to the Archives, to publicly commemorate the bravery of the officers.

This virtual ceremony will include brief remarks, the donation of the Act of Valor Award, and reflections of the meaning of historic artifacts.