2022 Award Nominations

Lifesaving Awards:

Kyle Weber and Mike Haskins: January 25th, 2022

It’s my great honor & pleasure to nominate Rangers Kyle Weber and Mike Haskins for the CSPEPA Lifesaving Award. On the morning of January 25th 2022, Haskins and Weber heard that medical units had been dispatched to a site in the Chatfield State Park Campground for a medical emergency. The call was described as a code 0, meaning the subject was unconscious and not breathing. As they arrived on scene soon after, they were advised that CPR was in progress. They found the subject on the floor of a cramped camper with his girlfriend giving ineffective chest compressions. They took over treatment and saw that the subject was unresponsive, his skin was ashy, his lips were blue, and his eyes had rolled up and back. Haskins began chest compression while Weber readied a CPR mask. After about 100 compressions, they switched; Weber began compressions while Haskins readied the AED. As they continued to render aid, the subject’s color began to improve. After approximately 15 minutes, EMS took over care. They administered Naloxone via IV, after which the subject began to wake up. The subject was transported to the hospital and returned to work 2 days later. While the subject ultimately responded to EMS, it’s my belief that had it not been for the actions of Rangers Weber and Haskins, he would not have survived long enough for EMS to intervene. It’s because of their quick and professional response in saving the life of another that I nominate them for the Lifesaving Award. Thank you.

Kristopher Gard – October 23, 2022

Kris swam through dangerously cold water and waves without a life jacket to pull an unconscious 3 year old child to shore. He started CPR once on shore and had the presence of mind to call for Flight for Life. Kris was able to revive the child and passed him off to the helicopter. The child spent the night in the hospital for observation and was treated for symptoms of hypothermia, then released the next day.

Description of the Incident:
On October, 23 2022 at approximately 1525, I, Officer Klosheim, received a call, along with Officer Kristopher Gard and Officer Joseph Portteus, for overturned kayaks and multiple people in the water near Sailboard Day Use Area, Lake Pueblo State Park, Pueblo County, Colorado. I drove to the South Marina docks and ran to launch the patrol boat, with PORTTEUS. GARD drove directly to the Sailboard Day Use Area and requested Flight for Life to respond. GARD arrived on scene at approximately 1527 and saw multiple people in the water. GARD ran around the cove to the east of Sailboard beach, removed his outer uniform and swam out to rescue a male party, identified as Cameron Smith(DOB 11/13/2018), who was floating by lifejacket near shore. GARD brought SMITH to shore and, finding SMITH unconscious and unresponsive, began CPR at approximately 1533. GARD saw another male party struggling to swim farther out in the water, but lost sight while he was rescuing SMITH. SMITH began to be responsive and GARD picked SMITH up and took him around the cove to members of PWFD who had arrived at Sailboard. SMITH was flown to Childrens Hospital in Colorado Springs a short time later.

PORTTEUS and I launched the patrol boat and drove across the lake to Sailboard. PORTTEUS noted that the water was 62 degrees, and we encountered large waves. The weather that day was reporting 25-35MPH winds and it was blowing east. PORTTEUS and I arrived in the area of Sailboard beach at approximately 1532 and saw GARD doing CPR on shore, and several witnesses spread out around the cove. We began driving towards shore to assist GARD, when a male party, identified as Bryan RIVERA (Contact 719-369-5958), waved at me and pointed into the water. I looked and observed a female, identified as Catherine DAWES(DOB 08/30/1978), floating facedown near the surface of the water. PORTTEUS maneuvered the boat close enough and I grabbed her sweatshirt. PORTTEUS and I pulled DAWES into the boat at approximately 1535. DAWES’ face was blue and she was unresponsive. PORTTEUS drove the boat straight to shore, landed, and with the help of Officer Derek Brown and PWFD members who carried DAWES to a AMR ambulance that had arrived on scene. PORTTEUS and I returned to the patrol boat and were told that a 3rd person, later identified as Larry FOSTER(DOB 03/14/1996), was still missing in the water. PORTTEUS and I began searching the area of the cove with sonar but could not get clear images because of the weather conditions. At approximately 1700 members of the MERT team began arriving on scene.

I returned to shore and witnessed RIVERA and the initial reporting party, identified as Dawn ARMIJO (contact 719-281-1693). RIVERA and ARMIJO both described the same order of events. FOSTER and SMITH had launched a kayak from the east end of Sailboard Beach. The Kayak had capsized and FOSTER began swimming with SMITH. FOSTER was unable to keep himself on the surface and went under. SMITH, wearing a lifejacket, floated closer to shore and was rescued by GARD. While this was happening, DAWES and another adult, later identified as Max BLESCH(DOB ), launched two more kayaks from the east side of Sailboard Beach and both capsized. DAWES went out of sight in the waves and BLESCH floated with a kayak to the opposite shore of the cove.

I contacted BLESCH and two juveniles who had been placed in a PWFD vehicle to warm up. I gathered information from BLESCH and two juveniles, identified as Zavior BLESCH(4 Years Old) and Gabriella SMITH(DOB 09/25/2016). Zavior and Gabriella had been kayaking with the group but had been left on shore during the boat accident. After DAWES was released to the coronor, BLESCH, ZAVIOR and Gabriella were transported to the Lake Pueblo visitor center where they were later picked up by a friend and taken home.

Officers Joseph Stadterman and Jenny Ives(members of the MERT team) were briefed on the search area and searched the cove by ROV beginning at approximately 1720, located FOSTER at 1742, and brought FOSTER to the surface at 1752. FOSTER was taken to shore and turned over to the coroner.

Joseph Portteus and Seth Hernden – May 29, 2022

On May 29, 2022 around 1900, Lake Pueblo State Park was emptying out. There was a wind advisory and intermittent rain. Most boats had left the water and many people who had BBQing and enjoying the shoreline had left. The wind was gusting up to 35MPH creating waves up to 5ft across the Lake. I called Officer Joe Portteus by radio to see if he was safely off the water. Joe said that he was at the Marina but was going to stay by the boat in case they needed to respond. He said they had seen a few boats tucked into coves and he was worried they would try to get across the lake too soon. His instinct proved to be correct.

A call came out over the radio for a capsized boat southeast of the North Marina. The caller had said a boat was overturned and people were in the water. Joe and Seth immediately took the call and responded from the south marina.

When Officer Portteus and Seth Hernden left the south Marina, they were immediately met with waves washing over the front of the boat and blinding them with spray. While surging over waves the motor would leave the water and it was difficult to maintain forward momentum or keep the boat pointed into the wind. When they arrived on scene Joe saw what he would later know to be 12 victims, some holding on to the boat and others floating away. As Joe approached he could hear children crying and screaming for help. In a heartbeat Joe had to decide which victims to respond to first. Joe began with the children closest to them and Seth hoisted the first and then the second into the boat. Joe had to maintain the position of the boat, no easy task with the waves and wind, while also ensuring the victims were safely away from the motor. As they continued from person to person several times Seth needed a second person to lift people out of the water. Joe had to leave the wheel and assist Seth lifting people into the boat and then return to navigate through the waves and debris. Seth was having to balance along the rail of the boat while reaching in and lifting the victims over the side of the boat while waves were washing over the side. The water was 60 degrees and many of the victims were unable to move on their own as Seth pulled them on board. Joe saw a group of three kids floating and brought the boat alongside them. As Seth began pulling them out of the water he realized that an adult female was beneath them keeping them afloat. Joe and Seth pulled the four of them out of the water. One of the children, only about 4 years old, was unresponsive. Joe sat the child upright and the child began coughing up water. The adult female’s head had been underwater and she showed no signs of life. Because there were multiple more victims still in the water, Joe and Seth secured her in the boat and continued to pick up more actively drowning victims.

Once all victims had been brought on board the boat, Joe sped to the North Marina where medical had staged. A helicopter took the youngest child and the rest were treated for hypothermia. Many of the victims were so hypothermic they couldn’t move. Others were throwing up and in shock.

Of the 12 victims Joe observed when he arrived on scene, 11 survived. Despite his immediate life saving actions being completed, Joe waited until the statewide recovery team arrived. One more victim was missing and Joe took the searchers out to the scene of the accident to help narrow their search.

There is no doubt that if Joe was moments later, there would have been many more of the victims who died. Joe and Seth operated at the highest level in severe conditions and under immense pressure, to save 11 lives, and ensure the deceased were returned to their families.

Matt Taylor – June 19, 2022

On June 19, 2022, Officer Taylor responded to an injured party on the bike trail at Lake Pueblo State Park. Once Taylor was on scene, the injured party stopped breathing and turned blue. Officer Taylor started chest compressions and was able to bring the injured party back to life and get him to the critical care he needed.

Valor Award:

Kristopher Gard – October 23, 2022

On October 23, 2022 Park Rangers Krisopher Gard, Joseph Portteus and Josh Kloesheim responded to a call of overturned Kayaks. On this day each of these officers rose to the occasion and their performance was exemplary, even for Lake Pueblo State Park. However, Officer Gard’s actions deserve and require special consideration. On this day the water temperature was 62 degrees with large waves and wind gusts upward of 35 miles per hour. While Officers Kloesheim and Portteus deployed the patrol boat, Gard headed straight to the incident and arrived within 2-3 minutes. Officer Gard observed multiple people in the water and sprinted 200-300 yards to the shore where he removed some of his uniform and jumped in the water. Once in the water he lost sight of the adult further out due to the height of the waves but was able to retrieve a 3 year old boy and bring him to shore. Immediately officer Gard started CPR while keeping the presence of mind to call for medical resources. Upon reviving the child and seeing the ambulance arrive, officer Gard picked the child up and ran the 200 + yards back to the parking area to hand off the child to higher levels of care. Officer Gard’s initiative and unrelenting dedication to duty without taking so much as a moment to rest undoubtedly resulted in this young child’s survival. In addition, officer Gard knowingly placed himself in danger by entering a lake that had just claimed two souls. He did this without a floatation device and alone. Officer Gard’s actions reflect great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Lifetime Achievement:

Ed Keleher

Ed has worked for Co State Parks and CPW for 30 years. During his time he has contributed to several large and small projects that have benefited the agency. Ed started his career at Cherry Creek State Park. While there, Ed head up one of the largest events ever held there. On August 16th, 1993 Pope John Paul II came to visit Denver for World Youth Day and held mass at the park. Over 350,000 people visited the park that day. Ed transferred to Lake Pueblo State Park. Ed was in charge of the boating program while at Lake Pueblo. While on patrol one day, there was a call about a man drowning. Ed and his partner arrived on scene to find that the man had gone under water. Ed and his partner retrieve the man and started CPR and the man survived. Ed received a Life Saver and a Valor award for his actions. One of Ed’s biggest contribution to the agency while at Pueblo was he developed the first electronic Law Enforcement Reporting Database for parks. Ed using his degree in computer science and his connections at Colorado State University Pueblo, Ed developed the first electronic reporting system. Ed got a grant from the University and used students to develop the system. This system lasted over six years, until it was replaced in 2000. Ed promoted to Yampa State Park as the Senior Ranger. Ed’s love for boating helped him develop a Boating Marine Officers Training course while at Yampa. This course set the standard for all other boating courses that the agency uses. In 2010 Ed promoted to Park Manager of the Crawford Complex (Sweitzer Lake, Crawford and Paonia State Parks.) Ed set some lofty goals for himself as Park Manager. His first goal was to develop a trail that connected the east side of the lake to the west side of the lake. This sounds easier than done. The trail has to cross two streams and have a causeway that is 665 feet long. With lots of convincing and almost $2 million dollars later the trail will be finished in 2022. The next goal was to have Clear Fork campground redeveloped. After four years of delays, the campground will be done the spring of 2022. Ed’s last goal was to expand Sweitzer Lake. In 2020 the park added 108 acres and is in the process of purchasing 280 acres. The park is one of the division’s top priorities to develop out in the next five years. This will expand the park from a boating day use park, to a park with camping, 10 miles of trails, hunting, and expanded fishing opportunities. Over Ed’s career, he has mentored several seasonal staff and park rangers that have gone onto be Park Managers, Section Heads and Program Managers. His commitment to the agency has been great from the large to small projects he has been involved with to the goals he has completed. His career has encompassed several parks and influenced several people’s lives. This is the reason we believe he should be awarded the Life Time Achievement Award.

Exceptional Service:

Daryl Sedar – May 30, 2022

On Memorial day 2022, Daryl received a call from dispatch that rangers were requesting a supervisor to be incident command for the park. Eleven parties had been rescued from the water, one person was dead, and another missing in the lake. At the time there were 5 agencies responding in support and only 3 rangers on Park at the time. Daryl responded straight to Lake Pueblo and began managing the scene. When he arrived he worked to coordinate the different resources available. Daryl helped identify the victims, called ACOVA, alerted MERT team, gathered contact information for families, coordinated the boat recovery, and kept other park supervision updated in real time. Once the victims had been transported and the deceased was turned over to the coroner, Daryl called all the families of the victims to let them know what happened and do death notifications when needed. Daryl spent hours that evening making sure families were reunited and were given as much information and resources as possible. Once other members of the MERT team arrived, Daryl helped to organize the initial search and stayed the rest of the night searching. Daryl had already worked a full shift that day, gone home, and then responded back to the park. Daryl is a key member of the MERT team and his knowledge and specific experience to Lake Pueblo played a big role in the search. After the incident Daryl helped to coordinate several debriefs for the rangers and staff involved. Daryl checked in with staff and ensured everyone was physically and mentally well following the incident.

Josh Klosheim- July 9, 2022

Officer Klosheim and I responded to an ATV accident with injury at Lake Pueblo State Park on Saturday, July 9 2022. The accident occurred in the remote “bowls” area of the park. Officer Klosheim and I trailered the parks ATV’s and medical equipment and responded to the location of the accident. When we arrived on scene, Sheriffs deputies and fire fighters were already there. The flight for life helicopter had landed, but was a good distance away due to the terrain. The accident was complex because of it’s location. The victims ATV had jumped off the main path, hit a canyon wall. and fallen into a small crevice barely wider than the ATV and about 15 feet deep. The victim was also at the bottom of the crevice and had a fractured femur, which was sticking through his skin. His upper thigh was filling with blood like a balloon and he was screaming in pain. Some rescue personnel were already down with the victim. They were arguing among themselves. Officer Klosheim wasted no time taking control of the scene. He directed me to pull my ATV up to the edge of the crevice and used the winch on the front to repel down. Next we passed a backboard Officer Klosheim brought on his ATV, which was also equipped with an off-road rescue trailer, down to him. He directed rescue personnel to strap the victim to the board. Then he used the winch to extract the victim on the backboard. Officer Klosheim and a nurse secured the backboard to the rescue trailer on his ATV. The nurse rode on the recue trailer and supported the victims head while holding an IV. Officer Klosheim expertly drove the ATV and trailered victim over to the flight for life helicopter to quickly get him the medical attention he desperately needed. Officer Klosheim was inspiring to watch. He took control of a difficult and tense situation and executed his plan flawlessly. Further, in the months and years prior to this, Officer Klosheim had the foresight to anticipate a need for the specialized equipment and training used for this kind of call. When the moment came, we were ready because of Officer Klosheim. Because of Officer Klosheims thorough planning, accumulation of specific rescue equipment, trainings he organized in preparation for this exact scenario, and actions on the day of the rescue, I would like to nominate Officer Joshua Klosheim for an exceptional service award.

Bert Brown

According to online articles, the best format for writing an award winning nomination is to “be specific, leave out fancy words, and say it like it is.” Those tips summarize our nominee for the CSPEPA Exceptional Service Award. Bert Brown requires very little introduction to those in Morgan County and eastern Colorado. Bert has shown a level of continued commitment to the recreational and natural resources that make him exceptional. Bert regularly fishes Jackson Lake, North Sterling, Prewitt and Jumbo. When he’s not fishing he can be found driving through CPW properties in his distinct tan suburban with his poodle “brown dog” on his lap. Bert sees what we do not. He reports suspicious activity to staff regularly. He’s been instrumental in fishing violation cases. He always there to offer advice and make recommendations. He has long been involved with the fisheries in our reservoirs. He constantly checks the fish screen at Jackson Lake. He adjusts the water height to ensure that the fish are captured before going downstream. He calls to make sure that we remembered to lower the screen. In the spring, Bert anxiously awaits the fish survey. Arriving to the boat ramp in the early hours with a filet knife in hand to help weigh, measure and filet any fish coming off the biologists’ boat. In the summer months, Bert is in the park interacting with visitors. Asking where they are from and who they’re related to. Best of all, giving them information and directions. It is hard to remember that he is not a paid employee. Bert has never asked for compensation and never signs up as a volunteer, although we get him signed up each year to ensure he receives his parks pass. Bert brings carloads of corn, potatoes, onions and watermelons that he receives from local farmers to the park hands them out to anybody willing to take them. Bert continues to be the eyes and ears for CPW in Morgan County and is always willing to donate his time. For the last 25 years, Bert has “given it away” to his community and CPW is better for it.