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OSP Trooper Receives Department Lifesaving Award
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) Superintendent Timothy McLain recognized the May 20, 2010 lifesaving effort of an OSP Fish & Wildlife Division trooper assigned at the John Day work site during a presentation Wednesday of the Department's "Harold R. Berg Lifesaving Award". Joining Superintendent McLain and numerous local officials during the special afternoon event at the OSP John Day office was Milton Pearlman, the 90 year old man who was pulled from his partially submerged car in the John Day River, and many others who participated in his rescue.
On May 20, 2010, OSP Trooper MARV RITTER, assisted by an OSP sergeant, Grant County deputies and numerous others, saved Pearlman from the John Day River as he was quickly succumbing to hypothermia while clinging to his submerged car in the middle of the river.
Pearlman had reportedly been in the water for over 30 minutes after failing to negotiate a curve and driving off the road into the river. Putting himself at significant risk in the swollen river water, RITTER donned a life jacket, tied a line to him and entered the river several hundred feet above the car to perform a swift water rescue. Swimming into the middle of the river and getting carried downstream, RITTER was able to grab onto the car and Pearlman. After placing a life jacket onto Pearlman, they were pulled back to shore by assisting emergency responders.
RITTER's lifesaving effort was helped by other officers, volunteer ambulance and fire personnel from Dayville, ODOT and numerous citizens who stopped at the scene.

Immediately upon returning to shore, Pearlman was treated by medical responders and quickly rushed to the John Day Hospital for treatment of hypothermia. He was held overnight and released the next day to his son.

RITTER, age 57, has worked for OSP for 5 years in the Fish & Wildlife Division at the OSP John Day work site. He had previous law enforcement experience before joining OSP.
More information about the May 20th incident and links to photographs is available on our website at:
The "Harold R. Berg Lifesaving Award" is named after Lieutenant Harold R. Berg who died on May 10, 1975. Berg, while off duty, was contacted by a citizen who informed him that a boy scout was missing at Cape Lookout State Park. While attempting to search a cave near the water's edge, he was washed out to sea.

The award is given to State Police employees who distinguish themselves by performing or reacting to a situation in a positive and professional manner which saves, or reduces the risk of loss of life of another person; and, where a strong possibility existed that if such action wasn't taken, loss of life or serious injury would have resulted.