(CHP Officers recognized as Heroes)….The Gold Medal of Valor was recently presented to Officer Gilbert Caldera and the Silver Medal of Valor was presented to Sergeant Jose Serrano.
Both work out of the California Highway Patrol El Centro Sector. In March 2017 the two led the rescue of a woman in the All American Canal. The woman reportedly experienced dizziness, lost control of her vehicle and drove it into the Canal on Highway 186. The woman was able to free herself from the sinking vehicle and enter the frigid water. She grabbed onto a protruding water flow meter pole. A passing motorist stopped at the scene and tossed the woman a tow strap. Officer Caldera arrived on scene and formed a rescue line from two 30 foot long dog leashes. He threw one end of the line to the woman as he descended the concrete wall to the ledge next to the woman. Sergeant Serrano arrived and noticed the rescue line was untied from the woman. He maneuvered himself along the top of the narrow 18 inch wide concrete wall, retrieved the line, and lowered it to Caldera. A bystander provided a life jacket, which Caldera was able to place on the woman. Due to the strong current, Caldera was forced to hold onto the tow strap with one hand and the ladder with the other, while balancing himself on the ledge, keeping the ladder from being swept away. The Sergeant pulled the woman from above, and the two helped her climb up the ladder to medical aid. The State said Officer Caldera and Sergeant Serrano went above and beyond the call of duty to rescue the woman.