San Juan deputy’s body found near snowmobile in Molas Pass area
San Juan County Sheriff’s Deputy Hollis Troy Holland died of a heart attack Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, while snowmobiling near Molas Pass. He was 57.
Holland was also a deputy for the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office.
He was reported missing Wednesday evening by his wife, Patricia. His snowmobile and body were found at about 8:30 p.m. that night by an Air Care medical helicopter from Farmington, N.M.
La Plata County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Dan Bender, who was in the area during the search, expressed the thanks of all La Plata Sheriff’s Office employees to San Juan County Sheriff’s Office and their search teams who conducted a night search in poor weather conditions. They especially thank the crew of the medical helicopter that spotted Holland and his snowmobile.
“I saw the helicopter hover over the location while it directed ground searchers via radio to the site on a very dark night.” Bender said. “After the helicopter crew spotted Holland, the ground teams succeeded in difficult recovery just as a major snow storm moved into the area” he said.
“Without the search teams’ timely actions the family could have been faced with an extended time of not knowing where their loved one was or what his fate was,” Bender said.
Hollis Holland began working for La Plata County Sheriff’s Office on a part-time basis in 1991, then as a full time Deputy for 19 years, beginning in 1992. During that time he received numerous commendations including being awarded the Badge of Merit in 2002 for leading an investigation that resulted in the arrest of a person who was intentional starting fires while firefighters were still battling the Missionary Ridge Fire. He received a second Badge of Merit in 2010 when he discovered a house on fire and rescued a woman who was still in the house and unaware of the fire.
Holland and his wife moved to the area in the 1970s. He worked in a Silverton mine, led the San Juan County Search & Rescue team for 10 years and was an active member of the Silverton Avalanche School in the 1980s.
Holland and his wife moved to the area in the 1970’s where he worked in a mine in Silverton and fell in love with the San Juan Mountains. He was a leader with San Juan County Search & Rescue for 10 years and an active member of the Silverton Avalanche School in the 1980’s
before joining La Plata County Sheriff’s Office. He was instrumental in the operation of the Deputy Ski Program that put LPCSO Deputies on the slopes of Durango Mountain Resort at Purgatory for enhanced security and quicker response times.
San Juan County Sheriff Sue Kurtz said Holland also worked part time for her Sheriff’s Office in Silverton since 1993.
Bender said Holland was also well known both in San Juan and La Plata counties for filling in for Santa Claus when Santa was busy elsewhere.
Mr. Holland is survived by his wife, Patricia Holland, of Durango; sons Jacob Holland of Durango and Nathaniel Holland of Fort Collins; brothers Kimmet Holland of Santa Fe and Reggie Holland of Jonesboro, Ark.; sister, Karen Holland Glenn, of Roatan, Honduras; and two grandsons.
A visitation was held on Sunday, Feb. 5, at Hood Mortuary Chapel, Durango.
Burial services were held on Monday, Feb. 6, in Silverton, with a long funeral procession, including many police vehicles, passing through town as Holland’s body was transported by the town’s antique fire engine.
A Celebration of Life memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m. at Whalen Gym, Fort Lewis College.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to any program that benefits victims of domestic abuse and their children, including Alternative Horizons, P.O. Box 503, Durango, CO 81302; Southwest Safehouse, P.O. Box 2107, Durango, CO 81302-2107; and Our Sisters Keeper for survivors of family violence, P.O. Box 3416, Durango, CO 81302.