Six members of the Santa Barbara County Joint Aviation Unit where honored Thursday with medals last issued in 2003 for bravery in the line of duty during Montecito mudslide.
Officials from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, local government officials, along with friends and family members of award recipients gathered Thursday March 5th, 2018 for an awards presentation to present five members of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and one member of the Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Office with the department’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor that is presented to persons who perform heroically, above and beyond what is normally expected during rescue operations in Montecito, California.
Receiving the Medal of Valor for their work flying and hoist rescuing victims during the January 9 Debris Flow in Montecito were;
Pilot Matt Udkow
Crew Chief/Captain Glen Dupont
Crew Chief/Captain Thomas Wade
Firefighter/Paramedic Bryce Wible
Firefighter/Paramedic Bruce Meyers
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputy/Pilot George DeLuca.
The medal of valor award is the second award presented to members of the unit in Santa Barbara for their efforts during the Montecito mudslide response, unit members were joint recipients of the UTC Goodrich rescue of the year award, along with Ventura County aviation unit and members from the United States Coast Guard station Point Mugu, CA who were each recognized for their ongoing efforts in challenging conditions that resulted in the rescue and subsequent survival of multiple residents caught in the early morning mudslide that occurred January 9th, 2018. The mudslide resulted in twenty one deaths and over one hundred and fifty injuries. The Santa Barbara County air unit was responsible for rescuing six survivors on the day of the mudslides in Montecito, CA.