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Texas Game Wardens Recognized for Life-Saving Heroics at Annual Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony

Media Contact: TPWD News Business Hours, 512-389-8030

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AUSTIN— Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director Carter Smith honored several men and women for their outstanding acts of service at the 15th annual Law Enforcement Division Awards Ceremony Oct. 18.

The ceremony recognized Texas game wardens, non-commissioned TPWD employees, first responders from other agencies and members of the general public.

“I am extremely honored to work with these men and women who define and exemplify what it is to be a public servant,” said Col. Grahame Jones, TPWD Law Enforcement Director. “I am also proud of our partnerships with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and the communities we serve.”

This year’s award recipients include game wardens who showed outstanding displays of teamwork and leadership in response to medical emergencies. Among the many heroic efforts recognized, include:

In May 2019, the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department made a radio call for any units to respond to a subdivision on Lake Livingston.  An elderly couple had driven their truck into the water and were trapped in the vehicle. Two Trinity County deputies, a Trinity County firefighter and a game warden dove down to try to gain access to the truck, which was about four feet under the surface, but the doors were locked. They tried several times to break a window but were unsuccessful until one of the deputies broke the rear window, severely cutting his hand. They all began trying to locate the couple inside the truck. A deputy and the warden located the woman, pulled her from the truck and brought her to the surface. The deputies swam her back to shore while the warden dove back underwater, located the family dog and pulled it to the surface. The deputy and warden continued diving down to the truck to locate the man. After he was found and brought back to shore, paramedics performed CPR.  They were not able to revive him, but the woman and the dog were saved without injury.

In Alto in April 2019, about 100 people were in attendance of the Caddo Culture Day Celebration when two tornadoes ripped through the area near the Caddo Mounds State Historical Area. A game warden used local county roads to plot a course to the historical area. When the roads became unpassable, he continued on foot and found a good Samaritan who agreed to take him by ATV to Caddo Mounds. When he arrived on scene, he began to render aid to the attendees and helped coordinate the helicopters and first responders as they arrived on scene. About 40 people were injured at the site, ten of which were in critical condition, and one person died from their injuries.

Other heroic lifesaving efforts recognized include a U.S. Army medic who, while camping on Lake Lavon, heard boaters calling for help after someone on a towed knee board lost their balance and fell into the water. When the operator of the vessel attempted to retrieve the knee boarder, a horrible accident occurred. The individual was struck by the vessel and received life threatening injuries. The medic retrieved his emergency trauma pack and began to render lifesaving first aid to the boater until emergency medical units arrived.