Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Amanda Villa received the agency’s highest award, the Medal of Valor on Monday, after rescuing several firefighters from a downed helicopter during the Deep Creek Canyon fire near Townsend.
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen described the heroic rescue.
“On June 15, Trooper Villa was in Broadwater County, helping with roadblocks for the Deep Creek Canyon fire,” said Knudsen. “As she was turning her vehicle around, a Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation helicopter landed hard and tipped over from the strong winds on the fire. Without hesitation, and if you’ve seen the video you know what I’m talking about, without hesitation, Trooper Villa leapt out of her squad car, radioed for help, and ran toward the helicopter that by now had caught fire.”
Once Villa got to the downed chopper, she discovered more people trapped inside.
“The passenger who had climbed out informed Trooper Villa that four more passengers were still inside the wrecked chopper, and without regard for her own personal safety, she climbed underneath the chopper and help the four remaining passengers to safety,” he said.
Knudsen said without Trooper Villa’s heroic actions, the firefighters could have perished in the burning helicopter.
“Without Trooper Villa’s quick thinking and selfless