ODNR officer who died during rescue operation given posthumous award

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Officer Jason Lagore died after suffering a medical emergency while responding to a water rescue at a Highland County park. Photo courtesy the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
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Ohio Department of Natural Resources Officer Jason Lagore died after suffering a medical emergency while responding to a water rescue at a Highland County park. Photo courtesy the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has posthumously awarded Officer Jason Lagore, who died in February while responding to a rescue at a Highland County lake where two teens fell through the ice.

ODNR Director Mary Mertz awarded Lagore the Director’s Award of Valor, presenting the award to the officer’s wife in a small ceremony.

ExploreODNR officer dies while responding to rescue at Rocky Fork Lake

On Feb. 23, Lagore responded to Rocky Fork State Park in Highland County on a report that two children had fallen through the ice. A 13-year-old boy was rescued and a 15-year-old girl died.

During the search, Lagore suffered a medical emergency and was taken to the Highland District Hospital in Hillsboro, where he was pronounced dead.

Lagore served for 15 years with the ODNR, beginning and leading the ODNR K-9 training program. He is survived by his wife Michelle, his two sons and his K-9 partner Sarge, who was officially retired from service last week.

“Back in February we lost not only a dedicated officer, but a loving husband and devoted father,” Mertz said. “Because of his courage and bravery in the face of danger, there is no one more deserving of this honor.  I am proud of the work he did and the legacy he leaves behind.”

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