Honors for citizens, troopers who helped those in danger


It's pretty rare to face a life-or-death situation on a Minnesota roadway. But in case you are, it's comforting to know there are some heroic people out there willing to help you.

On Monday the Minnesota State Patrol honored citizens and troopers who went above and beyond to save people's lives.

Meritorious Citizenship Awards were given to everyday people who did some extraordinary things.

Robert Renning was recognized for flagging down a motorist whose vehicle was on fire. When the locks and windows failed, Renning bent the door frame with his bare hands and pulled the passenger out through the window of the flaming vehicle, which earned him the title of "real-life Superman" by the media.

David Baxely was another citizen recognized. The National Guard member ran to a burning vehicle overturned in a crash, cut the driver's seat belt and pulled him out of the car.

Mark Toms, Laci Siljord and Sgt. Scott Parker also received an award for saving a northern Minnesota man who had a heart attack while driving and crashed his car. Robert Zobel received the Minnesota State Patrol Commendation Award for responding to the incident as well.

Toms, a retired firefighter; Zobel, an off-duty fireman; and Silgjord, a nurse, were able to pull the man from his car and perform CPR. When Sgt. Parker came to the scene, he used his AED until the first responders came.

Other awards include:

Minnesota State Patrol Commendation Award: Scott County Deputy Michael Turek

Life Saving Award:

  • Trp. Patric Ignaszewiski and Trp. Ricardo Magana (Life Saving Award), Faribault Police Officer Benjamin Johns (Minnesota State Patrol Commendation Award)
  • Sgt. Calvin Michaels
  • Trp. Ben Uzlik and Trp. Andrew Gibb
  • Trp. Shaun Leshovsky
  • Sgt. Mike Engum
  • Lt. Brad Bordwell

Meritorious Service Award and Chief’s Commendation Award – Communications/911:

  • Trp. Brian Beuning (Meritorious Award), and RCO Andrea Fletcher and RCO Brian Gaddis (Chief’s Commendation Award for Communications/911)
  • Trp. Mark Lund (Meritorious Award)
  • Trp. Shaun Stang (Meritorious Award) and Kanabec County Deputy Mark Schafer (Minnesota State Patrol Commendation Award)
  • Sgt. Chris Daas (Meritorious Award)

Exceptional Service Award:

  • Trp. Philip Jergenson
  • Trp. Thomas Erickson
  • Trp. Curt Thurmes
  • Sgt. Dan Holmes
  • Commercial Vehicle Inspector (CVI) II Steve Krueger

Eagle Squadron Award: Trp. Pete Schultz

Leadership Award: Trp. Nick Robertson

Civilian Employee of the Year: Commercial Vehicle Inspector (CVI) III Sergeant Glen Bjornberg

Trooper of the Year: Trp. Joe Dellwo

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