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Pima deputy earns national award - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Pima deputy earns national award

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TUCSON – A Pima County deputy was given a national award on Tuesday.

Search and rescue crews saved 17 people from a flash flood at Tanque Verde Falls last July. Deputy Steve West was lowered from a helicopter to lift victims.

He said he was more nervous receiving the award at the Board of Supervisors meeting than he was during the rescue.

He has hoisted down from a helicopter dozens of times, but this was the first time it was over rushing water.

“It was hard to sleep that night,” West said. “Your adrenaline is pumping. And to be honest, I probably had more of an adrenaline rush after than I did during.”

He said he just happened to be in the right place while the rest of his colleagues were spread out across town on other rescues.

“Everybody on the crew has done exactly the same thing,” West said. “It just happened to be caught on camera, and it happened to be a 4-year-old, and it happened to be me driving by the hangar opposed to one of the other guys.”

He said deputies could not be as successful without the volunteers from the Southern Arizona Rescue Association.

The National Sheriff’s Association includes 3,080 sheriffs. The Medal of Valor has only been given to 6 other deputies.

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