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Three receive State Patrol awards for coming to aid of crash victims

WILLMAR — Three men were recognized by the State Patrol for their role in assisting troopers and providing a significant service to the public.

The recipients of the Meritorious Citizenship Awards were announced Monday during the Minnesota State Patrol’s annual awards ceremony.

Two of those individuals, Jose Alvarado and Michael Remarke, responded to the Aug. 17 fatal crash on Highway 12 near Atwater.

They were praised for pulling two children from a burning van in the two-vehicle accident that ultimately claimed the lives of three female members of a family, including a grandmother, mother and young girl.

A boy, who was 5 years old at the time, survived the crash.

According to the State Patrol’s award information, Alvarado ran down the embankment to the van, heard screaming and crying and saw a young boy belted behind the driver.

Remarke arrived on scene and saw Alvarado trying to open the driver’s side sliding door. After that failed Alvarado entered the burning van through a broken rear passenger window, unbelted the boy and handed him to Remarke, who took the boy to his truck.

Alvarado returned to the burning van, found the young girl and carried her up the embankment.

Shane Blair also received the Meritorious Citizenship Award for responding to a crash July 28 near Starbuck.

According the State Patrol, Blair was the first person to come across the crash and stopped to help. When a trooper arrived she saw Blair attempting to care for an injured infant by maintaining the infant’s airway. He later cut the seatbelt from the car seat and helped carry the child to the ambulance.

Blair was praised for providing care and doing “all he could” to assist at the scene.

That crash ultimately took the life of the infant and injured three others, including the child’s parents and grandmother.

Each year, the Patrol honors citizens, troopers and other public servants who performed life-saving acts or excelled in a crisis to ensure safer Minnesota roads.