DES MOINES — A DeWitt police officer, who grabbed a gun from the hand of a man who was trying to commit suicide, and a volunteer firefighter and three police officers who pulled a woman from a burning car will be recognized for their heroics today.

They will receive the Sullivan Brothers’ Award of Valor during ceremonies today at the governor’s office. The award was created in 1977 to recognize officers and firefighters who perform acts of heroism on the job.

Sgt. Marc Swingle of the DeWitt Police Department responded to a 911 call on Nov. 27, 2006, the governor’s office said. When he arrived at the home, he heard a gunshot. As he looked through a glass storm door Swingle saw a man lying on the floor with an apparent gunshot wound to his face.

Swingle, a 17-year veteran of the police department, saw the man holding a gun to his head and opened the door and grabbed the gun from the man. It was later learned the man was suffering from a terminal illness and was trying to commit suicide.

The other recipients, Decorah Police Chief Tom Courtney, Capt. Warren Leeps, Officer Sara Stinson and volunteer Decorah firefighter Jeff Ode, responded to a car collision on Jan. 12 and found a car in flames.

The officers and Ode used fire extinguishers to try to control the fire, but it continued to spread from the engine compartment to the passenger area, according to news release from Gov. Chet Culver’s office.

The officers and Ode pulled the 84-year-old woman from the car just before the passenger compartment was engulfed in flames.

Capt. Leeps, of Decorah, downplayed the award, but said it was an honor to receive it.

“I am kind of at a loss as to how I feel,” he said. “I’m very honored, but it is just part of my job.

“When I look back on it, do I think I’m a hero, not really, but when I look back at the video, I think that was really stupid of us to get that close to a burning car with the gas tank and everything, but I knew if we didn’t nobody else would.”

The incident was captured on a patrol car video camera.

DeWitt Police Chief Gene Ellis said officers are frequently forced to make split-second decisions.

“Sometimes you’re faced with those situations and you act so fast you don’t have time to think about it,” Ellis said.

“He made the split-second decision ... and saved the guy’s life.”

He said the recognition is good for the whole department.

“Many times this is a thankless job and we meet people on their worst day,” Ellis said.

“Officers don’t get a lot of praise ... it’s nice when they can be recognized in a positive way, because so many times it’s negative.”

The award is named after five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo who were lost at sea during World War II on the USS Juneau.

Their deaths are believed to be the greatest combat-related loss of life by one family at one time in U.S. history.