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La Grande Police Department officer Ryan Herbel, here in an undated photo, received the city’s Above and Beyond Award for using his own time and resources to drive a family to Portland to see their daughter after she was seriously injured in car crash in 2020.

LA GRANDE — A La Grande police officer is being saluted for going beyond the call of duty.

Officer Ryan Herbel has received the city of La Grande’s Above and Beyond Award for service to his community.

Herbel received the award after using his own time and resources to drive a family to Portland to see their daughter after she was seriously injured in car crash in the summer of 2020 on Highway 30 near Pierce Road.

Herbel was among the La Grande police officers who were the first to arrive at the scene of a multi-vehicle crash, which caused injuries to a number of people.

“Officer Herbel and his partner, officer Scott Norton, played a pivotal role in assisting with a patient that was in critical condition before medics arrived,” said La Grande Police Chief Gary Bell.

An ambulance took the patient, a juvenile, to Grande Ronde Hospital, La Grande. Police followed so they could assist the patient’s family, who were from outside the area.

The patient had a bleak prognosis, and later a helicopter ambulance flew her to a hospital in Portland.

Herbel, after learning doctors did not expect the girl to live through the night, knew the family could not wait and asked to have the rest of the night off so he could drive them to Portland.

The family did not have a vehicle available because theirs had been totaled in the wreck, said La Grande police Lt. Jason Hays, but with Herbel’s help they were able to get to Portland to be with their child.

The family’s loved one not only made it through the night but recovered and was able to walk out of the hospital months later.

La Grande police Sgt. Dusty Perry nominated Herbel for the Above and Beyond Award.

“This level of devotion and humanity is exactly what we embody at the La Grande Police Department,” Perry wrote in a letter with the award Herbel received.

La Grande City Manager Robert Strope, who presented Herbel with his award, also praised the police officer.

“(Officer Herbel) went out of his way to do the right thing,” Strope said. “It was an act of selflessness.”

Bell also had high words of praise for Herbel, who has been in the La Grande Police Department just over three years.

“Officer Herbel’s actions in this situation exemplify our core values,” Bell said, “and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the La Grande Police Department.”

General assignment reporter

Beats include the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.

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