Nathan Idstein, Sy Vanthavong, and Christopher Diesen received one of Albert Lea Police Department's highest honors, the Life Saving Award. The story is amazing.

It was October 26th, 2017. a man stopping in Albert Lea just long enough to gas up, looked at his watch,12:25 AM. A quiet night. Almost Halloween, so it was already cool enough to need a jacket. He shivered waiting for the tank to fill up, and thought,  "Next time bring a jacket, dummy."

XXXL Fire Background

Getting back in his car, he looked at the dashboard. 46 degrees. Yep, shoulda brought a jacket. He pulled out of the gas station, checked for signs, and was back on the road, hoping to hit Fargo before sunrise.

Not far away, at 502 East Fifth Street, a fire had started and in five minutes, the course of one man's life would change forever.


That's how a crime novel would start the story of Officers Nathan Idstein, Sy Vanthavong, and Christopher Diesen. It was 12:35 when the call came in about the house fire, and the three met up outside the house, finding one of the brothers that lived in the house standing outside, walking around in his underwear and a towel trying to keep warm.

He'd told dispatch he thought his brother was inside still, probably upstairs, so Nathan, Sy, and Christopher would have to act fast.

On ABC 6 News, Diesen said, "We saw the feet under the smoke there, or what we thought were socks. We just looked at each other and said let's go!"

They made a human chain, grabbed the man by his feet, and dragged him to safety.

As usual, they said they never once thought about a medal. They just thought about saving the guy's life. And that's why we honor our heroes so much because they're truly there to save lives, even if it means they could die in the process.

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