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BOI TSA officer recognized for rescuing three people on Boise River

Boise Airport lead TSA officer Gavin Gard received the national 'In the Line of Duty' award for rescuing three people in distress while floating the Boise River.

BOISE, Idaho — The Transportation Security Administration earlier this month recognized Boise Airport lead TSA officer Gavin Gard with the national 'In the Line of Duty' award for rescuing three people who were floating the Boise River in the summer of 2022. 

Gard was floating the Boise River with friends when one of the people he was with slipped off her tube and it floated away. The woman grabbed onto a branch as the fast-moving water attempted to pull her under the water.

According to a news release, the woman's son – who was already out of the water – attempted to help his mom after seeing her out of the tube. 

Gard grabbed an inner tube, fought the current and led the woman to safety. Her son was able to make it to the bank of the river.

Then, Gard and the others heard a child calling for help after they had lost their inner tube. Gard, barefoot at the time, climbed down the river bank and released the child's tube from the branches so she could float to safely.

In a third act of heroism, Gard helped the friend's father out of the river after he attempted to retrieve his wife's tube and nearly went over a waterfall while floating. All in all, Gard was able to assist three different people that day, earning him national recognition. 

Gard was presented with the 'In the Line of Duty' award at a ceremony in Virginia earlier in May. He accepted the award from TSA Administrator David Pekoske. 

The TSA officer, who has been with the administration since 2021, will also be recognized later this summer for his acts on the Boise River with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Award for Valor.

"LTSO Gavin Gard's decisive and courageous actions, likely driven by adrenalin and innate skill, kept a day on the river from turning into a tragedy. We are grateful for people like LTSO Gard who see an opportunity to help and immediately act on their instincts," TSA Federal Security Director for Idaho, Andy Coose said. "It came as no surprise to me that Gavin stepped up and stepped in to this situation. He is a humble and exemplary employee who carries out the TSA mission every day, volunteering to assist his co-workers whatever the task while ensuring security checkpoint operations run smoothly. The TSA team locally and nationwide salutes Gavin for his efforts."

As reminder, a "Dangerous River Condition" notice is posted for the Boise River. The flows remain fast - at around 5,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). Boise Parks and Recreation have also posted 80 signs around the Greenbelt warning people of the dangerous river conditions.

Float season typically begins in mid-June or early July. Typical flows for float season are between 500 and 1,500 cfs.

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