Coast Guard awards silver lifesaving medal to deputy

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard awarded a silver lifesaving medal to Tillamook County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Charles Reeder in a recognition ceremony held in Bend, Ore., during the Oregon State Marine Board Conference October 14, 2008.

Reeder was given this distinguished honor for rescuing two children who were caught in a swift current at the Mill’s Bridge area of the Watson River in Tillamook, Ore., June 26, 2006.

Rear Admiral John Currier, Commander for the 13th Coast Guard District presented the award to Reeder on behalf of Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant for the Coast Guard.

“It was my honor to present this prestigious award to Deputy Reeder,” said Currier. “While he was enjoying a nice day with his family, this highly dedicated and trained law enforcement deputy put his life in serious risk to save two drowning children. It is a credit to himself, his family and to the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Department.”

The Gold Lifesaving Medal or the Silver Lifesaving Medal is awarded by the Commandant of the Coast Guard, to any person who rescues or endeavors to rescue any other person from drowning, shipwreck, or other perils of the water.


For heroic action on the afternoon of 26 June 2006 when he rescued two children in distress caught in the swift current at the Mill’s Bridge area of the Watson River in Tillamook, Oregon. Deputy Reeder was enjoying a beautiful summer day with his family when he heard the frantic screams of a woman pointing at a spot in the water. He recognized the urgency, frustration and horror she was trying to convey even though her screams were in Spanish. Deputy Reeder looked at the swift running coastal stream where the woman was pointing and saw a small hand come up from the water, only to quickly disappear under the surface. He rushed to the area and began to search. Deputy Reeder quickly found the child in a very deep section of the river. As he grasped the first child to pull him to safety, he was surprised to see another boy with his hands outstretched, slowly descending; air bubbles emanating from his mouth. Deputy Reederwas able to take hold of bothchildren and began to swim to the surface. On the way up, both children began to struggle and attempted to climb the Deputy to the surface. Deputy Reeder, a trained life guard, began to struggle himself and feared that he would be taken down by the struggle. Unable to surrender the children from the water, in an act of total unselfishness, Deputy Reeder fought his way to the surface with both children in tow. He handed one child off to a woman at the waters edge, and struggled to his feet on slippery rocks bringing the other child in his arms to safety. Deputy Reeder’s determined efforts, outstanding initiative and fortitude during this rescue resulted in the saving of two young lives. His unselfish actions and valiant service, despite imminent personal danger, reflect great credit upon himself and are keeping with the highest traditions of humanitarian service.

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