Monday, September 21, 2020
Pictured front, from left Wisconsin State Trooper Jake Edwards, Sparta PD Officer Jenna Lee, Sparta PD Officer Chris Welker, MCSO Deputy Ethan Young, Representative Nancy VanderMeer. Back, from left Wisconsin State Patrol Lt. Jeramy Foster, Sparta PD Chief Dave Kuderer, Sparta PD Lt. Booker Ferguson, Monroe County Sheriff Wes Revels and MCSO Chief Deputy Robert Conroy. Contributed photo

Local officers receive First Responder of the Year Award

Representative Nancy VanderMeer of Tomah presented five local law enforcement officers with the First Responder of the Year Award for the 70th Assembly District Thursday. The five officers were nominated for this award by Sparta Police Chief David Kuderer in recognition of their selfless actions during a tragic incident at Perch Lake last winter.

The award recipients are: Sparta Police Officers Corey Johnson, Jenna Lee and Chris Welker, as well as Monroe County Sherriff’s Deputy Ethan Young and State Trooper Jake Edwards.

On January 6, 2019, two boys were on the ice at Perch Lake in Sparta when they both fell through. Tragically, one of the boys drowned, but the other boy was saved due to these five officers sacrificing their own safety and entered the ice with no safety equipment to save the child’s life. All five officers were awarded the Sparta Police Department Award of Valor by Chief Kuderer in May.

The officers were presented with Assembly Hometown Hero Award plaques and were recognized before the entire Assembly. During the award presentation, VanderMeer said, “I’m proud to recognize these heroes. They each risked their own lives to save a child’s life. I’m happy to know that our local communities are protected by these heroes and others like them who go above and beyond the call of duty to serve others every day of the year.”

In addition, VanderMeer stated, “We are forever grateful for the actions the five officers took that fateful day. On behalf of the entire 70th Assembly District, thank you to these brave first responders.”

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