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Citizens honored in Great Falls for lifesaving actions

Last week, both the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and the Great Falls Police Department (GFPD) held award ceremonies to honor their employees during National Police Week.

Both departments also honored citizens in the community for their lifesaving actions.

At the CCSO ceremony on Thursday, Jon Leach and Russell Taylor received Life Saving Commendation Awards recognizing them for their bravery during a natural gas explosion in August 2018.

Both Jon and Russell heard the explosion, which was at their neighbor’s house, and sprang into action before emergency crews arrived. Both citizens went inside the home to save a couple. All four made it out alive.

Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said, “It was completely engulfed in flames and they went in selflessly and rescued them and their property and put themselves in literally grave danger and saved their lives.”

Taylor said his neighbors are exceptional people and he was glad he could help them.

He said, “I went running towards the fire and Jon came running around, we went in, and we were all able to come out.”

At the GFPD awards ceremony on Friday, two citizens were also recognized.

Ruben Perez and his daughter Gabby were honored by the Great Falls Police Department for their lifesaving actions last year.

Justin Dagsen and Ruben Perez received Citizen Lifesaving Awards.

Dagsen earned the award for aiding a community member in crisis and likely preventing them from completing suicide.

Perez, with the help of his daughter Gabby, also earned the award for aiding a community member in crisis and likely preventing them from completing suicide.

Sheriff Slaughter said, “The community and law enforcement are one in the same. Every day, citizens rescue other citizens.”

Kasey Herman

Kasey Herman

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