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Officer David Vanbuskirk reaches knighthood at special ceremony

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Photo: Video by ktnv.com

Officer David Vanbuskirk reaches knighthood at special ceremony

By Stacey Gualandi. CREATED Dec 8, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- At a special ceremony Sunday night at Sierra Gold for David Vanbuskirk, his friends, colleagues, sister and wife shed tears as the man they knew as Officer David became Sir David.

Raymond Winters was a friend and fellow black belt. As a knight himself, Winters requested the Knights of Malta honor the man who devoted his life to others.

"Most people run away from harm's way. Not Dave. He trained for it; he loved it," said Winters.

Vanbuskirk died in the line of duty on July 22. He was rescuing a stranded hiker on Mount Charleston when he fell from the rescue helicopter to his death.

Since then, he has been honored with many dedications, even the Medal of Honor from the city, but now, he will have the title of Knight of Grace, Samaritan of the Order of St. John.

Raymond said David is the first police officer and the second person to be knighted posthumously in almost 1,000 years. He will be in good company. Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul and the Queen of England also share the title.

Fellow black belt Anthony Horovitz said, "David spent his life saving other people's lives so I think this is the least one can do to honor him from this day forward.  

And Dave Callen, a fellow rescue officer, added, "He was a one-of-a-kind human being. We all just really miss him. I think honestly he would laugh about being called a 'Sir'."

His family was too emotional to talk on camera, but Adriana Vanbuskirk said she was so touched by this honor. For the people who knew her husband best, he was and will always be a modern day knight.

Stacey Gualandi

Stacey Gualandi

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Stacey Gualandi joined the Action News team as a general assignment reporter in July 2013.