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Trooper honored for rescuing man in flood

MONTEVIDEO -- Minnesota State Trooper Kris Paluch has been awarded a meritorious service award for his role in rescuing a man from a tractor in a flooded area last March.

According to a news release from the State Patrol, Paluch responded March 18 to a call that an elderly man was trapped in a tractor in a flooded area southwest of Madison. Much of the area was experiencing flood conditions which included rapidly rising water levels and swiftly flowing water covering farmland and roadways.

The trooper arrived to find the fast-moving water near the cab of the tractor and it appeared the current was going to overturn the tractor. After discussing the best course of action with Lac qui Parle County Sheriff Dallas Schellberg, Paluch and deputy sheriff Rick Halvorson decided to attempt an immediate rescue.

Paluch entered the flooded area and eventually was able to gain access to a life raft. The raft was floated downstream to the stranded farmer.

In his nomination, Patrol Capt. Brian West said he believed the tractor would have continued to sink lower into the water, trapping the man inside.

Paluch is stationed in Montevideo.