Rescuers earn top State Patrol honor
Vail, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Armando Bencomo still doesn’t consider himself a hero for helping save a state trooper last October. That trooper, the Colorado State Patrol and Bencomo’s kids see things differently.
On Thursday morning, the patrol bestowed its Civilian Certificate of Honor on Bencomo and two other men who came to the aid of Brian Koch, who was shot on Oct. 24. The award is the highest honor the agency gives to private citizens.
“I don’t think I’m a hero. I was there just at the right time, at the right place,” Bencomo said in an interview after being given a plaque and State Patrol coin at a ceremony at the AmericInn in Glenwood Springs.
Koch said Bencomo and Cruz Figueroa-Alvarez applied a tourniquet to his arm and controlled his bleeding.
“That truly, I believe, saved my life, their help,” Koch said.
Koch and Bencomo shook hands at the awards ceremony after meeting for the first time since the Oct. 24 shooting.
The State Patrol also honored Paul Limbach, who lives near where the shooting took place. Limbach rushed to the scene and helped Bencomo and Figueroa-Alvarez give emergency dispatchers information on the location of the shooting.
The men acted in a risky situation because the shooter, Steven Appl, remained on the loose, said Major Michael King, the State Patrol district commander in Grand Junction. He said they intervened while “not knowing where he had gone and what he had done.”
The ceremony was brief, with Bencomo explaining, “I’ve got to go back to work.” He owns a heating and cooling company. Neither Figueroa-Alvarez nor Limbach was able to attend. All three live in the Silt area.
Bencomo said he never expected to receive an award for his efforts, but he appreciates the recognition.
“I think it made me feel a part of this county, this society,” he said.
Both Bencomo, 42, and Figueroa-Alvarez, who is in his early 20s, are from Mexico. Bencomo moved here in 1987, and Figueroa-Alvarez a few years ago.