Emergency Medical Services


2000 EMS AWARD WINNERS


Calhoun County

Jeff Cope, Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office
Jim Ditterline, Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office
Kevin Klaas, Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office

In the early morning hours of May 10, 1999, Calhoun County sheriff’s deputies responded to a vehicle crash on Illinois Route 100 at Godar Landing. When they arrived, they discovered a car had struck a utility pole, causing power lines to drape across the roadway, and ended up with its passenger compartment totally submerged in a backwater area of the Illinois River. The driver and only occupant, a 32-year-old male, was trapped under water inside the vehicle. Chief deputy Kevin Klaas and deputies Jeff Cope and Jim Ditterline entered the water and were able to remove the driver from the car. The deputies administered first-aid to the victim, who was barely breathing, until the Calhoun County Ambulance Service arrived and transported the man to the hospital. The man survived.


Champaign County

Will Rogers, Private citizen

On July 11, 1999, Bret McMahan, a carpenter from Sullivan, Indiana, who was staying in Champaign, was traveling back to the city from a job in Bradley, Illinois, when he fell asleep at the wheel and ran into the back of a gas tanker. Will Rogers, general manager of the Howard Johnson motel in Champaign, saw the crash and drove McMahan to a local hospital. He stayed at the hospital until McMahan was out of surgery. When the carpenter was released two weeks later, Rogers arranged for him to stay at the motel and he dressed McMahan’s wounds daily.


Cook County

John Elstner, Private citizen   Rich Schmidt, Private citizen
Bill Heenan, Private citizen   Robert Smith, Private citizen
Arnold Martinez, Private citizen   Stanley Snarskis, Private citizen
Vince Martinez, Private citizen   Zenon “Ziggy” Sokolowski, Private citizen
Rick Nowak, Private citizen    

On the morning of Sunday, Feb. 27, 2000, Rick Nowak heard a loud boom as he was walking toward his car after attending church in Chicago’s Garfield Ridge neighborhood. He saw a young couple running from their home clutching a 6-week-old baby. He then heard a cry from another home that had been leveled by the blast, which was caused by a natural gas explosion. An 85-year-old man and his 79-year-old wife were trapped beneath the wreckage of the home. Neighbors pulled the couple from the debris and the couple was transported to the Loyola University Medical Center burn unit in critical condition. Additional injuries were averted when another neighbor was able to alert approaching emergency vehicles that the rescuers were hidden behind a wall of flame and smoke.

Eric Jones, Firefighter/Paramedic

On Sept. 14, 1999, a Chicago Fire Department ambulance arrived at a South Winchester address where emergency medical technicians found a 12-year-old female suffering an asthma attack. As paramedics prepared to transport the girl, one of them exited the vehicle to close the door. He was attacked by an assailant who knocked him to the ground. The attacker then pulled a gun. Paramedic Eric Jones lunged at the attacker, knocking him to the ground. Chicago police arrived to take charge of the offender while Jones requested another ambulance and attended to both the asthma victim and his partner.

Chaplain Tom Mulcrone, Chicago Fire Department
Richard Peterson, Firefighter/Paramedic

On Dec. 23, 1999, firefighters responded to a fire at a senior citizens high-rise apartment building on North Sheridan. Firefighter Richard Peterson assisted with the rescue of a 70-year-old man from a second floor apartment and then set up a triage area in the building’s lobby. Chaplain Tom Mulcrone arrived and began to assist Peterson, including setting up equipment for endotracheal intubation and administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to the 70-year-old man, who had gone into full cardiac arrest. Peterson continued to intubate those fire victims who needed it and Mulcrone kept up his resuscitation efforts until the man was placed in the ambulance and paramedics took over. The man had a strong pulse and blood pressure by the time he reached the hospital.

John DeJesus, Firefighter

Chicago firefighters and ambulance personnel responded to a house fire on West Pensacola on Feb. 12, 1999. Two children – both in full cardiac arrest – were removed from the burning home. Arriving on the scene, off-duty firefighter John DeJesus worked with engine personnel to administer CPR. During this time, two additional victims in cardiac arrest were removed from the house.


DuPage County

Moses Lee, M.D., Physician

The Illinois Mobile Emergency Response Team (IMERT) offers workshops for emergency medical technicians, nurses and physicians on how to respond to events involving nuclear, biological and chemical terrorism, especially in the context of a hospital emergency department. Dr. Lee has been instrumental in developing the curriculum for these workshops.


Franklin County

Tyler Arnett, Private citizen

On the morning of Feb.14, 2000, 7-year-old Tyler Arnett was awakened by his grandmother’s screams. Although she was yelling his name, she was very confused. The Benton Elementary School student quickly went to a neighbor’s house and called 911. The grandmother, who has diabetes and whose blood sugar had risen to a dangerously high level, was transported to a local hospital.


Hardin County

Norma Hogg, Private citizen

While at home on Jan. 22, 2000, Hardin County sheriff’s deputy Lloyd Cullison heard a loud crash. Checking outside, he saw a truck had left state Route 34 and crashed into a tree. When he reached the scene, Norma Hogg, a registered nurse, had already stopped and was attending to the badly injured driver. She assisted the victim until the Saline County Ambulance Service arrived and transported the driver to Harrisburg Hospital.


Henry County

Jamie Bryan, Private citizen

On Jan. 28, 2000, history teacher Jamie Bryan was monitoring a test in his classroom when one of his students approached him pointing to her throat and indicating she was choking. Bryan sent another student to get the school nurse while he administered the Heimlich maneuver to the choking student. The procedure dislodged a mechanical pencil cap from the student’s throat. The student was able to complete her exam.


Iroquois County

Lloyd A. Coffia, Private citizen

On Aug. 16, 1999, Lloyd Coffia came upon a crash on Illinois Route 1 involving a semi-trailer truck and an automobile. Stopping to see if he could assist the victims, Coffia noted a 3-year-old girl in the back seat of the car; she had been ejected from her safety seat and was not breathing and had no pulse. He pulled the girl from the vehicle and began to administer CPR. Coffia was able to revive the child before EMS personnel arrived. Killed in the crash were the child’s aunt and the aunt’s stepfather.


Kane County

Mollie Denman, Private citizen

On June 5, 1999, while attending a softball game in Elgin, Mollie Denman saw a man collapse to the ground. Going to the man’s aid, she found that he had stopped breathing and had no pulse; she immediately began to administer CPR. The Elgin Fire Department arrived and transported the man to the hospital where he died.


Macoupin County

Phil Capaul, Private citizen

On Feb. 11, 2000, Phil Capaul, manager of the Carlinville division of Hicks Medivan Service, was transporting three patients to appointments with their Springfield physicians. As he drove by the front of Lifestar Ambulance in Springfield, the former firefighter heard a loud noise and realized the van had caught fire. Capaul quickly helped his passengers, including one who used a walker and another in a wheelchair, to exit the van. By this time, the van was engulfed in fire although Lifestar employees had tried to fight the blaze. Lifestar’s personnel then helped to transport the medivan’s patients to their physicians.


Randolph County

Donal McKinney, Illinois State Police

On Monday, April 12, 1999, a Sparta High School senior was doing lab work in her chemistry class. Fumes began to bother the young girl, who suffered from asthma, and she passed out. State trooper Donal McKinney, who was in the school office on business when the student was brought in, assisted the school nurse in administering first aid to the girl, who regained consciousness by the time the ambulance arrived.


Sangamon County

Lifestar Ambulance Service

On the morning of Feb. 11, 2000, Van Prater, manager of Lifestar Ambulance Service, smelled smoke and, when he checked outside, he saw a medical transport van that had caught fire. Noting that the driver, Phil Capaul, had already removed the occupants, Prater and the other emergency medical technicians on duty tried to extinguish the fire. When they were unable to do so, the Lifestar employees helped the van’s occupants inside and later made sure that they made it to their medical appointments.

Harvey P. Endzelis, Illinois State Police
Jerry S. Garner, Illinois State Police
Phillip D. Pohlman, Illinois State Police

On the afternoon of February 5, 1999, Sgt. Robert Gomora was leaving the Illinois State Police District 9 headquarters communications center when he suffered a heart attack. ISP staff member Carol Webb discovered Sgt. Gomora on the ground and quickly informed Sgts. Harvey Endzelis and Phillip Pohlman of the incident. Webb called 911 while Endzelis and Pohlman initiated CPR. Sgt. Jerry Garner arrived as Gomora stopped breathing and used the headquarters’ automated external defibrillator to revive him. All three officers continued to perform CPR and to monitor the victim until an ambulance could arrive. Gomora was transported to a the hospital where physicians performed open heart surgery.

Kendall Roach, Private citizen

In the early evening of July 16, 1999, 9-year-old Kendall Roach and a preschool-aged friend were playing near the Illinois Central Railroad tracks in Grandview. As a freight train approached, Kendall, believing the younger child was too close to the tracks, tried to pull the youngster away to a safer distance. In doing so, however, the boy’s right foot was cut off by the passing train. A neighborhood child who witnessed the incident ran to a nearby house and alerted two young men who carried Roach away from the tracks and retrieved the severed foot. They kept the boy quiet and put the severed foot on ice until an ambulance crew arrived. Doctors were unable to reattach the foot.


Williamson County

William R. Ward, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office

On the morning of May 15, 1999, Williamson County sheriff’s deputy William R. Ward and auxiliary deputy Lori Ferguson were dispatched to the scene of a traffic crash. When they arrived at the scene, they found the vehicle on fire at the bottom of a 12- to 15-foot embankment. Advised there were still people in the vehicle, Ward quickly ran down the embankment through smoke that witnesses reported was so thick it hid the vehicle. Crawling to the vehicle on his hands and knees, Ward found a girl whose legs were trapped under the front seat. After trying repeatedly and unsuccessfully to extricate the girl, Ward saw another female on the ground with her head propped up on one of the car’s tires. He pulled her away from the burning vehicle and, with assistance, was able to bring her to the top of the hill. The victim trapped in the car could not be saved; the second victim suffered a broken leg and severe burns. Ward was treated for smoke inhalation.


Winnebago County

Deangelo Lee, Private citizen

On the morning of January 31, 2000, a Rockford school bus transporting students to Nelson Elementary School was struck by a pickup truck that ran a red light. The crash threw the school bus driver into the stairwell of the bus. The now out-of-control bus continued down the street. Ten-year-old Deangelo Lee, who was sitting in the front row, was able to get to the driver’s seat and stop the bus five feet short of a utility pole. Lee then used the bus radio to call for help. He was later treated for a bruised side.





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Illinois Department of Public Health
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