Union Pacific Railroad Senior Special Agent Louis Tudyk was presented the Purple Heart Medal of Honor during the Pleasanton City Council meeting on Aug. 6. Pleasanton Chief of Police Ronald Sanchez presented the medal to Tudyk in front of council members, Mayor Travis Hall and city staff.
“I have asked [Tudyk] to be here this evening to present him with a Purple Heart that he earned while employed by the City of Pleasanton on October 12, 1999,” said Chief Sanchez.
Tudyk was first hired by the Pleasanton PD in July 1996 as a dispatcher. In September that same year, he became a patrol officer.
On Oct. 12, 1999, Officer Tudyk responded to an “officer needs assistance” call at the intersection of Coughran and Corgey Road to what later became known as the Atascosa Ambush. Shortly after arriving, he was shot and wounded with a gunshot wound to his right arm with a high-velocity rifle round. The chances of saving Tudyk’s arm were very slim. A team of surgeons were waiting for him as he was unloaded on a stretcher at University Hospital, and by a miracle, they were able to save his arm.
“Anyone else would have not thought twice about walking away from a job in law enforcement,” said Chief Sanchez. “With an iron will and fire in his eyes, he made a conscious decision to return to his beloved profession.”
Tudyk lost the use of his dominant hand and was forced to become left-handed. After multiple surgeries, he returned to the Pleasanton Police Department as a detective where he served the citizens of Pleasanton for another 11 years. With a burning desire to broaden his horizons, Tudyk applied for a position with the Union Pacific Railroad Police Department in 2010. During the hiring process, he was told they would not make any special accomodations for him during the physical fitness portion of the pre-employment physical. He was expected to complete the pushups and situps in the allotted time.
In August 2010, with limited movement in his right arm, Tudyk passed the physical and was hired as a special agent where he proudly serves today.
“The City of Pleasanton Police Department considers it an honor to be the starting point for the extraordinary law enforcement career of Louis Tudyk,” said Chief Sanchez. “Tonight, we present this Purple Heart medal to him on behalf of the citizens of Pleasanton for being wounded in the line of duty and serving the citizens of the great State of Texas.”
Purple Heart Medal of Honor significance
The Purple Heart Medal of Honor, formerly called the Badge of Merit, was first created by President George Washington in 1782 and given to six military soldiers during the Revolutionary War. The Purple Heart honors the extraordinary men and women of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. In 1944, General Douglas McArthur helped changed the requirements that limit the award to only those who were wounded or killed in the line of duty. Today, it is estimated that the oldest military honor has been bestowed on nearly 1.9 million people.