May 23, 1996
ILLINOIS HONORS INDIVIDUALS FOR ACTS OF HEROISM
CHICAGO -- Twenty-one individuals were honored today by the state of Illinois for acts of courage at the Illinois Department of Public Health's ninth annual Emergency Medical Services Awards ceremony.
"It is comforting to know there are people who will, often without regard for their own safety, come to the aid of someone in need," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "We owe these people a heartfelt thanks."
The ceremony was held as part of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week, May 19-25, which was designated by Gov. Jim Edgar to honor emergency medical personnel for their commitment to protecting the lives of others. Dr. Lumpkin presented the awards of behalf of Gov. Edgar and the Department.
"The men and women who have chosen a career in emergency medical services know their lives and the lives of others may be on the line whenever the alarm sounds," Dr. Lumpkin said. "We are grateful for their dedication, courage and compassion."
A similar ceremony was held Monday, May 20, in Springfield to honor 11 downstate heroes.
Nominations for the awards were solicited from across the state.
Chicago EMS Week Awards
James Barrett -- firefighter, Markham Fire Department
Darryl Dixon -- firefighter, Markham Fire Department
Kevin Kilgallon -- firefighter, Markham Fire Department
On September 4, 1995, firefighters from the Markham Fire Department responded to a house fire at 2938 Sherwood St. When they arrived, they were told Susan Roundtree, who is disabled, was trapped in a rear bedroom. James Barrett and Kevin Kilgallon attempted to enter the house, but were driven back by intense heat and flames. Both men suffered second-degree burns around the face, neck and ears. When the two returned to the house, Darryl Dixon joined them. Barrett sprayed water on both the fire and the firefighters until Dixon and Kilgallon were able to locate the young woman and get her outside. The unconscious victim was not breathing, so the firefighters started resuscitation efforts. Hazel Crest paramedics transported the victim to Olympia Fields Hospital.
Scott Birmingham -- EMT-P/firefighter, Chicago Fire Department
Thomas Colwell -- EMT-P/firefighter, Chicago Fire Department
On January 27, 1996, Chicago Fire Department Ambulance Company 14 responded to a call at 7349 S. Emerald Ave. Upon arrival, Scott Birmingham and Thomas Colwell found a 31-year-old female who had been severely beaten and sexually assaulted and raped. While they were treating the victim, the rapist returned to the scene. As Birmingham worked to stabilize the seriously injured victim for transport, Colwell and the victim's brother tried to restrain the man but he broke free. They eventually ran him down and held him until police arrived.
Timothy Gardner -- EMT-P/firefighter, Chicago Fire Department
John Walsh -- EMT-P/firefighter, Chicago Fire Department
On November 25, 1995, Timothy Gardner, a paramedic with Chicago Fire Department Ambulance Company 36 and John Walsh, a firefighter/paramedic, responded to a drowning call at the McKinley Park lagoon, 3659 S. Hoyne. The two men waded into the ice-choked water and secured three people who had fallen through the thin ice. Gardner and Walsh started a human chain and passed the victims back to arriving rescuers. Back on shore, the paramedics, still in their own wet clothes, stripped the wet clothing from the victims, wrapped them in warm blankets, started warm intravenous fluids and kept them breathing and conscious until they were transported to local trauma centers.
Darryl Gimino -- firefighter, Chicago Fire Department
Rickey Thomson -- firefighter, Chicago Fire Department
On July 21, 1995, Chicago firefighters responded to a fast moving blaze at 7629 N. Bosworth Ave. Two children were rescued by firefighters but a third disappeared from a fourth-floor window. When firefighters tried to enter the window, they were driven back by thick smoke and flames. Darryl Gimino and Rickey Thomson raced up the smoke-filled stairs, dragging a water line with them. Upon reaching the apartment, they encountered intense heat, but Gimino was able to located a 10-year-old girl in the bedroom. Both men helped carry the girl to safety.
Ryan Grant -- private citizen, Elmhurst
On July 16, 1995, 5-year-old Ryan Grant was playing in the family room with Sam, his 2-year-old brother, when he noticed the toddler had something in his mouth. When Ryan asked Sam what it was, the youngster could not answer because he was choking. Ryan put Sam's stomach over his forearm and whacked him on the back several times, causing Sam to cough up three coins and part of his breakfast. Their parents, responding to the commotion, found everything under control.
Patricia Griffith, M.D. -- physician, Chicago
During the evening of June 24, 1995, Anthony Vogt, his wife Tina and their 4-year-old son Matthew were traveling south on I-290. When a vehicle in front of them slowed down, Vogt hit his brakes too hard and lost control of his car, which slid down an embankment and rolled over. Vogt was able to crawl out through a window and passing motorists who had stopped to help pulled Tina Vogt from the vehicle, but Matthew could not be found. A Schaumburg police officer found Matthew pinned underneath the car. A group of people were able to move the vehicle off Matthew, who had suffered massive head injuries. Dr. Patricia Griffith, who had stopped to help, began treating the child at the scene and helped to stabilize him. To minimize the risk of permanent harm, Dr. Griffith held the child immobile until paramedics arrived. None of the Vogts were wearing seat belts.
William Heenan -- firefighter, Chicago Fire Department
John LaPorta -- firefighter, Chicago Fire Department
Ozzie Moran -- firefighter, Chicago Fire Department
Brian Rafferty -- firefighter, Chicago Fire Department
On Thursday, January 18, 1996, Chicago firefighters responded to an apartment building fire at 3555 S. Cottage. William Heenan, while on an aerial ladder outside the fifth floor of the building, reached out with one arm and caught a child who was dropped from the sixth floor. Brian Rafferty, too, caught a baby while 95 feet in the air on an aerial ladder. The baby had been dropped by her mother from a sixth-floor window. Rafferty was able to convince the mother, as well as several other people, to wait for firefighters to reach them. Rafferty's partner, Ozzie Moran, and John LaPorta entered the building repeatedly, saving more than a dozen lives.
Edna Looyer -- private citizen, Lake Villa
On December 3, 1995, Edna Looyer was on duty at the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority's Waukegan Plaza when she responded to a fellow employee's call for assistance. Mr. and Mrs. Glen Kaht of Spring Grove had pulled up to a toll booth asking for help because Mrs. Kaht was about to deliver a baby. Looyer came to Mrs. Kaht's aid and five minutes later a healthy 7 pound 6 ounce baby boy was born. Mother and baby were transported to a Waukegan hospital in good condition.
James R. Mason -- firefighter, Chicago Fire Department
On March 1, 1996, off-duty firefighter James Mason observed a large column of smoke rising from a coach house at 2064 N. Hoyle. He overheard a woman say the fire had trapped her friend on the third floor. Mason entered the building, ran through flames on the stairs leading to the third floor and located the woman. Shut off from an escape route, Mason hung from a window sill and tried to kick out a window on the second floor. Fire was closing in on the woman and she jumped out the window. Mason was able to grab her as she fell and cushioned her body with his, as they dropped to a landing. Mason was knocked unconscious and seriously injured. The woman's injuries were less serious.
Sherry Murdock -- private citizen, Chicago
Casey Wilson -- private citizen, Chicago
On October 22, 1995, 5-year-old Casey Wilson awoke to the smell of smoke. With great difficulty, he awakened his deaf grandmother, Ernestine Murdock, and led her to safety. Casey's 13-year-old aunt, Sherry Murdock, ran to an upstairs bedroom and aroused the other family members and led them outside. Sherry then ran to an aunt's house and called 911. Casey and his grandmother suffered minor burns and were taken to Holy Cross Hospital where they were treated and released.
James Rog -- private citizen, Elk Grove Village
Philip Rog -- private citizen, Elk Grove Village
On August 21, 1995, Philip Rog and his 15-year-old son James witnessed a fiery automobile crash on Illinois Route 64 near Oregon in Ogle County. While trying to pass a van, the driver of a car lost control and swerved into the van's path. The car burst into flame on impact, killing the driver. The van, however, did not immediately catch fire. The Rogs, who were a few hundred yards behind the crash, stopped and managed to break out the van's back window and remove a badly injured woman who was blocking the only possible exit. They rescued five more victims before an explosion destroyed the van, killing the remaining seven occupants. Philip and James Rog suffered minor cuts and burns.
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