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Mar-19-2009 20:17printcomments

Teen Who Died During Rescue Awarded Gold Lifesaving Medal Posthumously

The Gold Lifesaving Medal was established by Congress in 1874 and is one of the oldest military medals.

Gold Lifesaving Medal Awarded to the family of Ross Barfuss
In this photo released by the Coast Guard, Rear Admiral John Currier, Commander of the 13th Coast Guard District, presents a Gold Lifesaving Medal to the family of Ross Barfuss at Aloha High School, Aloha, Ore., March 19, 2009. Then 16-year-old Barfuss died in 2008, attempting to rescue a 12-year-old boy who had been swept offshore. (Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer Eric J. Chandler)

(SEATTLE ) - A Gold Lifesaving Medal was posthumously awarded to a local hero named Ross Barfuss at Aloha High School in Aloha Oregon, Thursday.

Ross died at the age of 16 while attempting to rescue a 12-year old boy who was caught in heavy surf near Cutler City, Oregon on March 8th 2008.

The medal was presented to Ross Barfuss' family by Rear Admiral John Currier, Commander of the 13th Coast Guard District.

As we reported at the time, the 12-year old boy had been swept to sea when Ross Barfuss put his own life in danger by attempting a rescue him.

Depoe Bay Fire and Rescue recovered the 12-year old boy and transported him to the Lincoln City Hospital where he was declared dead. Ross Barfuss went missing shortly after his rescue attempt.

Coast Guard crews from Station Depoe Bay and Air Station North Bend searched for Ross Barfuss without any success.

He will always be recognized for his unselfish and heroic actions despite imminent personal danger.

The Gold Lifesaving Medal was established by Congress in 1874 and is one of the oldest military medals. Since then, approximately 700 medals have been awarded.

In contrast, the Medal of Honor, established approximately 10 years earlier, has been awarded 3,448 times.

The Gold Lifesaving Medal is awarded by the Commandant of the Coast Guard to any person who rescues, or endeavors to rescue, any other person from drowning, shipwreck, or other peril of the water. as Russ Barfuss did that day.

To merit the award of the Gold Lifesaving Medal, the rescue must be made at the risk to one's own life and show extreme heroic daring.

Ross Barfuss did that, and at the time people who knew him were not surprised that he put his life at risk to help another person.

The Coast Guard is the ultimate award authority for the Lifesaving Medal and issues the decorations to members of all military branches as well as civilians.

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Vic March 20, 2009 10:16 am (Pacific time)

May God bless and comfort the family of this awesome young man. Our society is much poorer with the loss of this brave and selfless person. In a society where people dont want to get involved or take any risks, especially for someone they dont even know, he was a shining star. Very sad.

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