New York Coast Guardsman to receive DHS Secretary’s Award for Valor

OSWEGO, NY- Coast Guard Petty Officer Second Class Steven M. Ruh has been selected to receive the Department of Homeland Security Secretary’s Award for Valor. The presentation will be made in Washington, DC on Wednesday, December 5, 2007. Ruh will be recognized for his heroic rescue of a drowning woman in the summer of 2006.On August 15, 2006, Coast Guard Station Oswego received a call from the local 911 operator stating that two persons had been swept into Lake Ontario by a large wave. The Coast Guard dispatched a 47′ motor lifeboat to assist the local fire department already on scene. The victims were being pounded by large waves at the base of a cliff on the rocky shoreline. Upon arrival, the boat crew was forced to contend with 8-10 foot seas and winds in excess of 25 knots.

With deteriorating weather conditions, the boat crew quickly developed a plan. The rocky shore made it impossible to get the 47′ rescue boat close enough to make the rescue. Petty Officer Steven M. Ruh, the designated rescue swimmer, entered the water to rescue the trapped victims. Through 8-10 foot waves, Petty Officer Ruh swam over 100 feet to the nearly unconscious victim. Fighting the pounding surf, he positioned his own body between the victim and the rocks as he quickly placed a life jacket on the victim and began the difficult swim back to the boat. Once aboard the boat, the crew assessed the injuries of the victim and began searching for the second victim. The crew was unable to locate the second victim. Suffering from shock, a broken leg, severe lacerations and losing consciousness, the first victim was transported to shore and an awaiting ambulance. The deceased second victim was later recovered by a New York State Police helicopter.

For his heroic actions Petty Officer Ruh was awarded the Coast Guard Medal. He has served in the Coast Guard for four years and is a native of Hamburg, NY.

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