Canyonlands National Park (UT)
Ranger Steve Swanke Cited for Rescue of Aron Ralston
On November 6th, Aron Ralston, the subject of a search and rescue operation after a canyoneering accident near the park earlier this year, was the keynote speaker at a conference on pain management sponsored by Timpanogos Regional Hospital. Ralston gained national attention last April when he freed himself by amputating his own arm after being pinned by a boulder in a narrow canyon for five days. The speech and accompanying awards ceremony was attended by 1,600 people. Ralston presented personal appreciation awards to unified incident commanders Steve Swanke, a ranger at Canyonlands, and Kyle Ekker, an officer in the Emery County SO. Ralston also donated $12,000 to help defray the cost of the operation to rescue him to SAR agencies in southeast Utah. Awards of merit were presented to Swanke and several others for their untiring efforts to rescue Ralston.
[Submitted by Peter Fitzmaurice, Chief Ranger]