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Paynesville Press - September 29, 2004

Deputies earn medals for valor

By Michael Jacobson

Kellan Hemmesch, a 1985 PHS graduate, was one of four Stearns County Sheriff's Deputies who received a Medal of Valor recently.

The medals were awarded for the courage the deputies demonstrated during an incident in March 2003.

The four deputies were involved in the pursuit of a stolen vehicle where the suspect driver began shooting a gun at the deputies' cars. One of the bullets hit a squad car. None of the officers were injured. The suspect was arrested after his stolen vehicle went off the road and crashed.

The Medal of Valor is awarded to a deputy who knowingly and purposely exposes himself or herself to an extraordinary risk of personal harm or death to accomplish a meaningful police objective. This is believed to be the first time Medals of Valor were given in Stearns County.

During an official ceremony at the courthouse, Sheriff John Sanner awarded the four deputies - Martin Althaus, Kellan Hemmesch, Ken Friday (a former liasion officer at PAHS), and Eric Reetz - with a blue and white commendation bar to be worn on their uniforms. "These deputies performed their duties with unparalleled courage and professionalism," said Sanner.

Hemmesch lives near Sartell with his wife and two children.



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