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Brittany Lawonn, Published July 25 2009

Wounded Mahnomen Deputy Chris Dewey awarded Purple Heart, Medal of Honor

A Mahnomen County, Minn., sheriff’s deputy recovering from being shot while on duty has been awarded top law enforcement honors.

Sheriff Doug Krier presented injured Deputy Chris Dewey with a law enforcement Purple Heart and a Medal of Honor on Thursday, according to a CaringBridge posting written by Krier. Krier wrote that he told Dewey his strong attitude and refusal to give up has made him an inspiration to others, the posting reads.

Dewey was nominated for the Purple Heart award given to law enforcement officers injured while on duty by The American Police Hall of Fame and Museum in Titusville, Fla. The organization has a national awards program that has recognized positive actions by law enforcement officers and citizens who assist them for more than three decades, Krier wrote.

The Medal of Honor award was given to Dewey on behalf of the Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Office and the community of Mahnomen County, Krier wrote.

Dewey was shot in the head and the chest while responding to a call Feb. 18. He is recovering at an Englewood, Colo., hospital. His family and friends continually update his CaringBridge site, which has had more than 745,000 visits.

Dewey had been placed back on a ventilator July 4, but was taken off it the next day, postings said.

The family is currently monitoring how often Dewey has episodes, which are referred to as “storms.”

“Storming has been explained to us as an abnormal over-release of excitatory neurotransmitters,” Dewey’s wife, Emily, wrote in a July 10 journal entry. “This causes his heart rate and blood pressure to go way up, which then cause him to spike a fever.”

Doctors have told the family that storming “is relatively common and generally decreases in frequency and severity over time,” Emily Dewey wrote July 7.

Dewey had gone without storming on Thursday, according to Krier’s 10:48 p.m. post.

“I hope the combination of medications works and Chris will stay storm free,” Krier wrote.

Krier is returning to Mahnomen today after spending about a week with Dewey.

The medal almost didn’t make the trip as it arrived at Krier’s home on Monday, a day after he had already flown to Denver, he wrote.

Krier’s wife shipped the medal using overnight express and Denver police officer Henry Jones was waiting when the plane arrived Thursday, tracking down the medal and alerting Krier.

Jones handed the medal to Krier at 1 p.m. Thursday, just in time for the 2 p.m. ceremony, which was attended by the Denver police chief and several other officers.

Daniel Vernier, one of the men involved in the shooting, has pleaded guilty in connection with the case and agreed to testify against Thomas Fairbanks, the man accused of shooting Dewey.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Brittany Lawonn at (701) 241-5541