Medal of valor awarded for first time

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

Patrolman D. Shane Strand was awarded the medal of valor on Thursday by the Tucumcari Police Department for risking his life to save fellow officers.

It is the first time that the medal of valor has been given to a Tucumcari police officer in some time, or ever, said Larry Ham, chief of police. The department has checked its records and cannot find any commendations for the medal of valor in the last several decades, Ham said.

Strand and fellow officers responded to a call on Feb. 9, 2006 involving a suicidal man who was armed with a handgun. The man began brandishing his gun and a struggle ensued. The man attempted to point and fire his gun at Strand and fellow officers and at himself, Ham said.

And it was at this moment that Strand grabbed the man’s hand holding the gun and that Stand was able to keep the man from pulling the trigger, Ham said.

Strand received the award from his son, Arlan Strand, 18, at a presentation ceremony during Thursday night’s City Commission meeting.

“I wasn’t surprised when I heard about it,” said Arlan Strand, who is a senior at San Jon. He said, because of his dad’s job, “you know things like that can happen.”

“It scared the heck out of me,” said Strand’s father, Darvan Strand, who was at the ceremony with his wife, Jeannette.

Darvan said he has two sons who regularly put their lives at risk. Wade Strand, who also attended, is an officer in Logan.

Shane Strand’s commendation, read in part: “The Medal of Valor … is awarded only in exceptional cases when an employee who willingly and selflessly distinguishes themselves through an act of courage, involving risk of imminent serious personal injury or death to yourself, your fellow officers and others.”