Plaque honoring fallen deputy vandalized again

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A plaque honoring a local law enforcement officer who was killed in the line of duty is vandalized again.

The plaque was put up in honor of Josephine County Sheriff’s Deputy Tom Rice. He died in a search and rescue helicopter crash 17 years ago this week.  The plaque is placed in the heart of the Hellgate Canyon at the OK Corral.

Hellgate Jetboat Excursions employees told NBC5 News they found it vandalized again with new carvings into the plaque. Now, they’re coming together to make sure it’s repaired. An American flag has been placed over the rock in the meantime.

“It’s pretty bad, it’s going to take an extensive repair to get them done,” Stephayne Dailey, Facility Manager with Hellgate Jetboat Excursions said. “It’s very important to our staff down here at the river lodge and our jet boat pilots and our sheriff’s department that we get this fixed and back up and honor that memory of Tom Rice.”

It will cost a few hundred dollars to repair. The sign was vandalized back in 2017 as well.  A Grants Pass company volunteered to repair and replace it for free that summer.

Deputy Rice is remembered at Boatnik each year through the ‘Tom Rice Memorial White Water Hydroplane Race’ on Memorial day afternoon.

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