GRAND FORKS — Each time Corporal Ron Nord and Sergeant Kelly McLean look at their honors, it brings back mixed emotions. They were each given the Medal of Valor and Combat Cross.
"Every time you read it, it brings you back to the day it happened," said McLean.
Nord was also presented a Purple Heart.
"You can't help to think of the loss of that day," he said.
On May 27, 2020, Nord and McLean went to a Grand Forks apartment building to serve an eviction notice. That's when prosecutors say they were ambushed by one of the tenants inside. Seventy-eight shots were fired inside that apartment in just a couple of minutes. One of the bullets killed the tenant's mother. Deputy Nord was shot in the stomach and leg. Grand Forks police officer Cody Holte was shot and killed when he responded as backup.
He too was honored with medals. His wife Mandy accepted them for her late husband.
"We would give back all the awards if we could get him back," Nord said as his eyes began to tear up.
The other officer who came as backup was Grand Forks police corporal Pat Torok. He graduated from the police academy with Nord and McLean back in 1991. Torok was Nord's roommate for those 18 weeks. This was the first time all three of them responded to the same call.
"When it all started to happen and started to fall into place, to see Pat come into the room to help us out was a good thing to see," said McLean.
Deputy Blake Buchmeier was also honored with the Sheriff's Silver Star. He entered the apartment building while the gunfight was still going on, but took cover until the shooting stopped. He then rushed upstairs to render aid to Deputy Nord and Officer Holte.
Sheriff Andy Schneider said it was an easy decision to name Sergeant McLean and Corporal Nord as co-deputies of the year for the department.
"To be co-deputies of the year with such a good friend as Ron, I couldn't be any happier to be next to him and share that award with him," said McLean.