TONASKET-Six years after working with a group to save the life of a climber from a rock fall, firefighter Dan Gleason has been awarded the Medal of Valor.
Before coming to work for the Tonasket Ranger District, Gleason spent eight years as a firefighter for the Department of Interior, more than five of them at Yosemite National Park. Early one morning in 2002, following a significant rock fall occurrence, Gleason and four park rangers rappelled from a helicopter to a small ledge, 300 feet above an injured climber. The climber was 1700 feet above the valley floor in an area at risk of continued rock fall.
Maintaining vigilance to avoid initiating and to be on the lookout for rock fall, the group worked together to lift the injured climber to safety and extract him to a safe location for helicopter pick-up. When asked about the incident, Gleason said that rescues were a regular part of his work in Yosemite. He was pleased with the award and appreciated the recognition.
Ranger Mark Morris presented Gleason with the medal, which is engraved with Gleason’s name and the date of the rescue mission.
“This recognition reinforces something we already knew; selecting Dan to be part of our firefighting force was a great move,” Morris said.