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NEWS | July 1, 2024

New Mexico National Guard Rescues Flood Victims

By Hank Minitrez, New Mexico National Guard Public Affairs Director

RUIDOSO, N.M. - Six New Mexico Army National Guard Soldiers rescued four elderly Ruidoso residents from their home during a dramatic mission June 29 as floods began to wash out parts of the area scarred by recent wildfires.

The Soldiers, from the Guard’s 920th Engineer Company, were moving their heavy equipment out of a nearby creek where they had been removing debris from a culvert.

The four citizens signaled to them, indicating they were in distress.

Sgt. Carlos Mendoza, Spc. Charles Ingraham, Pfc. Daniel Daly and Sgt. Nathan Lugo-Avalos quickly created safety lines out of ratchet straps in case they were needed.

Staff Sgt. David Perez and Spc. Roberto Velediaz crossed the fast-rising water, making their way to the stranded people.

Perez and Velediaz carried the four people from the home to higher ground.

Several minutes later, the water level reached more than 6 feet high as it rushed into the now evacuated home.

“I’m proud of our Soldiers for acting so quickly to save lives in what was a dangerous situation,” said Maj. Gen. Miguel Aguilar, the New Mexico National Guard’s adjutant general. “This is what we train for and have a lot of experience in. I’m just thankful we were there to help our fellow New Mexicans in their time of need.”

Just two days earlier, FEMA trained Soldiers from the 920th on using ropes and straps to create a lifeline for flood rescues.

The New Mexico National Guard has had a team of Soldiers and Airmen in Ruidoso since the beginning of the wildfires. They have assisted with traffic control, moved tons of debris with heavy equipment, and distributed donations from agencies and organizations across the state.



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