NORTH BEND, Ore. — The Coast Guard presented a Gold Lifesaving Medal and Silver Life Saving Medal during a ceremony at Coast Guard Station Chetco River in Brookings at 10 a.m. Monday.
The prestigious Gold Lifesaving Medal was presented to Terry L. Brown, an Oregon native currently residing in Salem, and the Silver Life Saving Medal was presented to Logan Couch, a Curry County resident, for their actions in saving then 14-year-old Joshua Peterson, of Brookings, near Harris Beach in June 2014.
While on patrol as a Curry County Sheriff’s Deputy June 2, 2014, Brown responded to a report of a boy caught in a rip current near Harris Beach. Brown immediately donned a lifejacket and took a lifeline with him as he jumped into the 52-degree water to rescue the boy. He used the strong rip current to take him to the boy, but the current carried him and the boy too far offshore for the lifeline.
Couch entered the water next and utilized a kayak to make multiple rescue attempts of his fellow deputy Brown and the boy but was thwarted by the breaking surf and the constant rip current.
John Ward and Kyle Kennedy were also involved in the same rescue, and were presented with a Certificate of Valor and a Meritorious Public Service Award respectively for their individual and team efforts in the successful rescue.
Ward, the current Curry County Sheriff, after learning of the situation and realizing multiple lifelines had been ripped from potential rescuers hands leaving three people now stranded in the churning sea. He entered the water with another lifeline tied around his waist and worked his way out to the stranded rescuers and the boy. The shore party pulled all four people against the current and breaking surf to safety. Brown and the boy had been in the water for nearly an hour.
The Gold Life Saving Medal is one of the oldest medals in U.S. history and has only been awarded 724 times with Brown being one of two approved by the Coast Guard in 2015. The last GLSM was awarded in 2013.
Notable recipients of the GLSM include Joshua James, Ida Lewis and Bernie C. Webber. Notable recipients of the SLSM include Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and General George S. Patton.
The Silver Lifesaving Medal has only been awarded 2,152 times. Couch is one of seven approved by the Coast Guard in 2015.
The Certificate of Valor is awarded to citizens of the United States, military or civilian, who rescues, or endeavors to rescue any other person from drowning, shipwreck, or other peril of water.
Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award is the Coast Guard’s second-highest Public Service Award.