ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — Friday morning at The Pit, the community gathered to says their final goodbyes to Bernalillo County Undersheriff Larry Koren. The undersheriff was one of four men killed in the helicopter crash in Las Vegas, New Mexico on July 16.
Sheriff Manny Gonzales remembered his dedication to serving the community, specifically through his work with the air unit. “Over the past six years, Larry and the Metro Air Support Unit educated over 150 healthcare professionals in mountain rescue helicopter techniques,” says Dr. Jason Williams with UNMH, “Larry did not just know how to fly the helicopter, but really understood every single part of how to perform rescues…He directed his life towards helping everyone around him.”
Sheriff Gonzales also asked everyone to stand and applaud Undersheriff Koren, for his accomplishments in making the unit internationally recognized and for us multiple air rescue missions both here and abroad.
“We lost probably the best pilot that we’ll ever have,” says Chief Deputy Brian Lindley with BCSO.
Gonzales also announced that Thursday night Koren and Lieutenant Fred Beers received an international award for their Sandia Peak tram rescue earlier this year.
“Larry was so optimistic. I had the honor to bear witness to his career from the time it started to the time it ended. And I watched him never give up,” Gonzales says.
Others who spoke at the service highlighted how Koren never hesitated to help others. “He directed his life towards helping everyone around him. I bet every one of you could tell a different story about how he helped you along the way. He’s been described as the glue you never knew was there,” Dr. Jason Williams, UNMH, Metro Air Support Unit said.
After the service, an honor guard ceremony was held. It included Undersheriff Koren’s final dispatch, a rider-less horse procession, a flag presentation, a 21 gun salute, and a helicopter flyover.
“If you ever doubt the people that care about Larry, you should see behind you. If you could see what I could see, you see everyone with tears—tears of pain, tears of sorrow, but some of them are tears of joy. Tears that they got to spend their time with Larry, they got to spend their time with Fred, Michael, and Matt,” Lindley says.
Lieutenant Fred Beers, Deputy Michael Levison, and from Bernalillo County Fire Rescue, Rescue Specialist Matthew King also died in the crash. Lieutenant Fred Beers funeral was on Wednesday, July 27. Rescue Specialist Matthew King’s funeral is Monday, August 1 at 11:30 a.m. at Tingley Coliseum. Deputy Micheal Levison’s funeral is Wednesday, August 3 at 10 a.m. at The Pit.