ST. CLAIR COUNTY, MI – Whether conducting water rescues, finding lost hikers or providing CPR, Michigan conservation officers save lives. And that’s just what Conservation Officer Ben Lasher of St. Clair County did Nov. 15, 2015 – opening day of firearm deer season – when he responded to a call about an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound to a victim located deep in the woods.
At the May 12 Natural Resources Commission meeting held in East Lansing, Lasher was honored by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for his efforts. Lasher was presented with the Lifesaving Award by DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler. The presentation was attended by Lasher, his wife, Renee, and their sons, Jake and Sam.
“The actions of Officer Lasher saved a man’s life,” Hagler said. “We’re honored to have him on our team, and the public is fortunate to have him and all the men and women serving as conservation officers here and ready to protect.”
Hagler noted that conservation officers go through extensive training so they are equipped and ready to protect the public and save lives when – not if – the time comes.
At 5:20 p.m. Nov. 15, Lasher, while on patrol, received a report from dispatch of an accidental, self-inflicted 12-guage shotgun slug wound to a 30-year-old man. The incident happened in a wooded area just outside the village of Adair, located in Casco Township in St. Clair County.
Lasher, along with Deputy Greg Doan from the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, responded to the call. They met a friend of the victim, who had been present during the incident, at the end of a narrow two-track on private property. Lasher drove within 75 yards of the victim, stopping where the route was no longer accessible to vehicles. He grabbed his first aid bag and ran the remaining distance.
The victim and his friend had previously secured a tie-down strap above the wound in the victim’s upper thigh. Lasher removed the strap and the man’s bib overalls and then quickly applied his issued combat application tourniquet above the victim’s wound. While he and Doan continued lifesaving measures, medical personnel arrived.
Lasher was able to strategically position his vehicle within close proximity to the victim, which allowed medical personnel to lay the victim in the box of the truck. Lasher carefully but quickly drove the victim to an accessible road where the ambulance waited.
“We were told by medical personnel that Officer Lasher’s well-placed tourniquet and expedited transport to the ambulance saved this man’s life,” Hagler said.
Lasher has served the state as a conservation officer for 20 years. In 1996, he began his career in Arenac County where he remained until 2005. He has served in St. Clair County for the past 11 years.