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King City Area California Highway Patrol Officers Andrew Lamar and Brock Veillette each receive their Medal of Valor Award during the May 17 ceremony.

SOUTH COUNTY — King City Area California Highway Patrol Officers Andrew Lamar and Brock Veillette recently received the Medal of Valor Award, the state’s highest honor bestowed upon its employees, for their 2015 heroic act in rescuing several car crash victims along a steep, densely wooded hillside at night.

Lamar and Veillette were among 27 State of California employees honored with the Governor’s State Employee Medal of Valor Award for their acts of heroism during a ceremony May 17 at the California Highway Patrol Academy in West Sacramento.

Medals were presented to the recipients from five state departments on behalf of Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. by Keely Bosler, the administration’s cabinet secretary.

“On behalf of the Governor and all Californians, we honor the brave men and women who run towards danger instead of away from it,” Bosler said.

“Through their acts of selfless service these individuals remind each of us that courage and humility are the highest form of citizenship,” he added.

The Medal of Valor Award, sponsored by the California Department of Human Resources, comes in two distinctions — the Special Service Award (Silver) and the Special Act Award (Gold). Both Lamar and Veillette received the Silver level, which is awarded “for an act of heroism by a state employee extending above and beyond the normal call of duty or service performed at personal risk to his or her safety to save human life or state property.”

“People sometimes forget about the incredible dedication and work done by California’s public servants,” said Richard Gillihan, director of the California Department of Human Resources. “The Medal of Valor recipients exemplify the very best of the state’s public service spirit. The stories of how these individuals acted without regard to their own safety to help fellow citizens and save lives is awe-inspiring, and I am delighted to honor their acts of bravery and selflessness.”

On April 18, 2015, at about 1:50 a.m., Lamar and Veillette received a radio transmission from California Highway Patrol (CHP) Dispatch of a traffic collision with reported injuries at the Williams Hill Recreation Area in southern Monterey County between Lockwood and San Ardo.

The officers, who were in Greenfield at the time, arrived on scene shortly after 3 a.m.

“Due to the darkness, they were unable to see any victims down the hillside at the collision site but could hear screams and cries for help,” according to a news release from CHP.

Despite great risk to their own safety, Lamar and Veillette descended the hillside to treat the victims, whose vehicle had rolled multiple times before coming to rest more than 600 feet down a ravine. Both officers were forced to slide down the hillside headfirst on their stomachs due to its steepness.

A helicopter crew arrived and provided light to guide the officers down the hillside as they could not see more than two to five feet in front of themselves. One victim was found dead about 50 feet down the hillside, while four other victims suffering major injuries were located between 250 and 350 feet further down.

Soon after paramedics arrived on scene to help, the officers waited for an additional four hours until the victims could be evacuated via helicopter.

“This rescue surpassed the normal expectations of this department in that (Lamar and Veillette) placed themselves in great danger by traversing an extremely steep hillside to assess and treat passengers from a fatal traffic collision,” wrote CHP in its nomination for the officers. Both men “performed this rescue without rappelling gear, formal training in rappelling or adequate illumination. (Their) extraordinary actions extended above and beyond the call of duty.”

Medal of Valor Award nominations are made by the employee’s department, reviewed by the statewide Merit Award Board and selected by the director of the California Department of Human Resources. The program began in 1959, and since then, 613 state employees have received Medals of Valor.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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