Yuma, Ariz. - A daring rescue in the Colorado River and a six month deployment to Iraq has earned national recognition for two Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents.
The agents, Gianny Alvarez, assigned to the Blythe station, and Randall H. Baldwin, assistant chief patrol agent for the sector, are recipients of the Customs and Border Protection's Commissioner Awards for their activities during fiscal year 2009.
Two other agents also were recognized for their activities, but because of the nature of their assignments with the Border Patrol, their identity is withheld.
The Yuma Sector agents were among approximately 480 CBP officers, agents and support personnel who were honored in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on March 26. The awards were presented by Acting Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar.
"The dedication of these agents is typical of the character of the men and women who protect our borders every day," said Yuma Sector Chief Border Patrol Agent Paul Beeson. "They serve where called and react in exceptional fashion whenever special circumstances present themselves. It is a pleasure to serve with them."
Alvarez received the Commissioner's Top Humanitarian Award for assisting with the rescue of a woman who was injured when she jumped from a railroad bridge into the Colorado River near Gateway Park in Yuma last August.
Alvarez, off duty at the time and hearing cries for assistance, quickly grabbed a nearby raft and swam across the river to reach the woman, who had collapsed unconscious on the other side. Alvarez reached the woman, assessed her injuries and directed the activities of three other rescuers.
Alvarez carefully placed the woman on the raft and, with the help of the other rescuers, transported her safely across the river to a waiting emergency medical service unit that transported her to the hospital with serious injuries.
Baldwin, a 14-year veteran of the Border Patrol, was among 31 CBP officers and agents from around the country who spent six months in Iraq as part of the Iraq Reconstruction Project. The group assisted in disrupting cross-border support to insurgents and terrorists, while assisting the Iraqi government in improving and modernizing its border control operations.
The group, which received the Commissioner's Ambassador Award, was cited for their individual courage in willingly putting themselves in harms way to assist the Iraqi people in their efforts to control their borders and enhance legitimate trade.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.