Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Larry Gilder was given the 2013 East Texas Peace Officer Association’s (ETPOA) “Outstanding Peace Officer of the Year Award” at the 62nd Annual ETPOA Training Convention Awards Banquet on Tuesday, June 25, at the John D. Windham Civic Center in Center, Texas.
In 2012, Gilder received the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Valor Award and Life-Saving Award.
March 23, 2012, Sgt. Marlon Lewis and Deputy Gilder responded to a residence on Reins Road in reference to a suicidal person who set her trailer on fire with herself locked inside the residence. Lewis and Gilder entered the residence before being driven back by the flames. They were able to get her out of the residence by breaking a rear window and pulling her to safety. Both deputies suffered injuries during this rescue. The victim succumbed to her injuries and died later that evening at the Burn Ward at UTMB-Galveston. Gilder received the Valor Award for this brave act.
On the afternoon of Oct. 12, 2012, Gilder was patrolling the area of Highway 90 and Meeker Road when he saw an 18-wheeler that had become stuck on the railroad tracks. The tracks on Highway 90 are heavily utilized, and Gilder recognized the dangerous situation. Deputy Gilder attempted to assist the driver of the big rig, but the truck would only move a few feet in either direction. Gilder had no sooner radioed for dispatch to contact the railroad to have them halt any trains when he heard the distinctive sound of an approaching train. The driver couldn’t hear the train due to the engine noise of his truck, and his vision was blocked by the signal house. Gilder returned to the driver’s door and convinced the driver to leave his rig and go to safety. It was then that he learned that the driver’s son was also in the cab. After directing the two to safety, Gilder was then able to move his patrol car as the train was striking the trailer. The impact demolished the truck and trailer.
Sheriff Mitch Woods describes Deputy Gilder as “an outstanding peace officer that sets an example for his fellow deputies and a role-model for young deputies.”