‘He had a big heart’: Remembering BCSO Undersheriff Larry Koren
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The second of four heroes, who tragically lost their lives in a recent BCSO helicopter crash, was honored during an emotional memorial service at The Pit Friday.
Undersheriff Larry Koren served the county for 24 years. Each speaker at his memorial said he was not just a colleague, he was a mentor and friend. Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who served in a role just one step above Koren, shared the same sentiment.
“Larry was an extremely intelligent man, hardworking, resourceful, trustworthy, loyal, the best friend you would ever want to have,” he said. “I first met Larry at the academy, when he started as a cadet.”
The sheriff said even then, Koren was always thinking of others.
“One of his classmates had bought a Maglite but couldn’t afford the charger,” he said. “Larry went home and made him a charger, just so he didn’t have to pay.”
Gonzales went on to say that deputy still has that charger on his desk to this day.
“I knew he had a big heart for the people he worked with,” he said.
That never changed, as Koren quickly climbed the ranks in his career.
“Recently, at a massive training, Undersheriff Koren challenged Deputy Livingston to a push-up contest, which quickly evolved into a handstand push up challenge,” said Chief Deputy Justin Dunlap. “I don’t think he had high hopes of victory.
“Everyone who witnessed the challenge told me how funny it was and said they would never forget it,” he added. “For an Undersheriff, showing a bit of humility in front of a group of deputies is a rare thing.”
But perhaps even rarer, was the service he provided to the community.
“Larry was just an amazing person, always putting himself in harm’s reach to protect other people,” Sheriff Gonzales said. “Fearless, a fearless person.”
One of Koren’s many rescue efforts happened this past New Year’s Eve. He was the pilot who helped nearly two dozen people stuck in a Sandia Peak tram car for more than 12 hours. His team got them safely back on the ground.
He leaves behind a wife and two sons.
Watch the video below to hear more from Koren’s colleagues.