May 21, 1997
ILLINOIS HONORS HEROES AS PART OF EMS WEEK
SPRINGFIELD, IL Twenty-two people were honored today by the state of Illinois for acts of courage as part of the Illinois Department of Public Health's 10th annual Emergency Medical Services Awards.
"Each of these individuals has placed the safety of another above his or her own safety," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "Some of these heroes are firefighters and police officers whose actions exceeded the call of duty. Others are civilians whose quick responses in emergencies made a difference in the lives of others. We owe them a debt of gratitude -- not only for their acts of courage -- but for the example they set for us all."
Those recognized received certificates from the Department signed by Gov. Jim Edgar and Dr. Lumpkin. The awards are part of Emergency Medical Services Week, May 18-24, which was designated by the Governor to commend the dedication to duty shown by all those involved in emergency medical services.
"It takes an exceptional person to choose a career in emergency medical services," Dr. Lumpkin said. "It is a comfort to know these dedicated men and women are on duty each and every day and are prepared to assist Illinois citizens and visitors to our state."
Nominations for the awards were solicited from Department staff, police, firefighters, paramedics and others from throughout the state.
EDITORS NOTE: The following is a list of honorees and brief descriptions of their deeds.
EMS Week Awards
Mark Atchison Illinois State Police, Central Air Operations (Springfield)
While waiting for passengers at Midway Airport in Chicago on October 23, 1996, pilot Mark Atchison overheard a request for someone to call 911. Responding immediately, he found a male employee of Monarch Aviation complaining of chest pains and having difficulty breathing. The employee had a heart attack while Atchison was trying to comfort him. The sergeant began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until an emergency rescue unit arrived, and then continued to assist in CPR. The man was sent to an area hospital, where he later died.
Sandy Baxter private citizen, Fox River Grove
Tom Flores private citizen, Fox River Grove
While walking her dog on Sunday morning, May 18, 1996, Sandy Baxter saw a 4-year- old boy floating in the Fox River, which borders her backyard. She pulled the boy from the river and was trying to push the water out of him when her neighbor, Tom Flores, heard her yelling. Tom ran into his house to call 911, and then returned to help. Thanks to his training in the Coast Guard, Tom was able to get the water out of the boy's lungs. The boy was transported to Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington where he was admitted in stable condition.
Wesley T. Bland Arlington Heights Police Department
Allen V. Hobbs Arlington Heights Police Department
On November 27, 1996, a car slid down an embankment into an ice covered pond, trapping a passenger inside. Allen Hobbs was unable to free the man until Wesley Bland arrived. Working together, the officers were able to free the passenger and get him and the driver to safety. The officers and occupants of the car were sent to Northwest Memorial Hospital and treated for minor injuries and exposure.
Craig Carey private citizen, Springfield
On the afternoon of September 16, 1996, a woman drove her car into the lagoon at a Springfield park in an apparent suicide attempt. Craig Carey saw the vehicle hit the water as he was on his way back to work after lunch. He waded into the 4-foot-deep water, helped the woman to roll her window down and pulled her from the sinking car. The woman was transported to Memorial Medical Center for psychological evaluation.
Rodney Cobbins II private citizen, Chicago
On April 17, 1996, an intruder began stabbing Lakisha Turley in her home. Luckily, her 3-year-old son, Rodney Cobbins II, knew to call 911 for help. When police arrived, they found Lakisha had been stabbed repeatedly with a kitchen knife in the face, arms and hands. The alleged attacker was apprehended at the house, and Lakisha was taken to Cook County Hospital. Rodney has been credited by police for making the phone call that saved his mother's life.
Mike Connelly retired firefighter, Chicago
In the late evening of January 28, 1997, Bridget Insley awoke to the sound of the family dog barking and found the house on fire. She immediately ran upstairs to get her 2- and 4-year- old sons, then broke a window and began yelling for help. Less than a block away, Mike Connelly heard the cry for help and arrived at the burning home after one son had already been dropped from the window but in time to catch the second son. The boys were treated for minor injuries, and Bridget was treated for smoke inhalation and a broken heel sustained in her leap from the house at Christ Hospital and Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
William Joseph "Joe" Gray private citizen, Herrin
Early Easter morning in 1996, Joe Gray's father, who was undergoing chemotherapy, stopped breathing. While his stepmother called 911, Joe performed CPR until his father was revived. His father has since completed chemotherapy and his cancer is in remission.
Arthur R. Guedel Illinois State Police, District 15 (Elgin)
On the afternoon of July 28, 1996, a man driving a car near Elgin fell asleep, causing him to lose control of the vehicle, which rolled into the median. The vehicle's passenger was trapped upside down. Sgt. Guedel, who was dispatched to the scene, found the passenger had a blocked airway and was having difficulty breathing. Unable to reach the victim, the sergeant enlisted the help of several motorists to lift the back of the car and prop it up with a spare tire in order to provide enough space for him to begin emergency treatment. Guedel crawled toward the passenger, cleared the man's airway and then stayed with him until he was freed from the car. The passenger was taken to Sherman Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Don Hawley Pocahontas-Old Ripley Fire Department, Pocahontas
Jerry Nance Pocahontas-Old Ripley Fire Department, Pocahontas
Tom Smith Pocahontas-Old Ripley Fire Department, Pocahontas
On June 16, 1996, a man in Pocahontas received the greatest Father's Day gift of all when three firemen Don Hawley, Jerry Nance and Tom Smith helped save his son's life. While the smoke and flames of the burning house were too intense for the father to reach his son, firefighters Don Hawley and Tom Smith were able to enter and rescue the boy. The boy was not breathing when he was brought out, so Jerry Nance performed CPR until the boy was revived.
Erin Harper private citizen, Thomasboro
On February 26, 1997, second-grader Erin Harper was getting ready for school when she heard a loud noise in the bathroom. Upon checking, Erin found her father, who has diabetes, lying on the floor after his blood sugar level dropped to a dangerously low level. She quickly ran next door to summon help. Her neighbor called 911, and then returned with Erin to her house.
While the neighbor applied a cool towel to her father's forehead, Erin rode her bike to a nearby store to buy a candy bar for her father, who later was transported to Covenant Medical Center in Urbana.
Bill Hughes private citizen, Sullivan
On February 17, 1997, Bill Hughes' father, Robert, had a heart attack and collapsed. Bill immediately began CPR and continued until the ambulance arrived. Paramedics were able to revive Robert and then transported him to the hospital. Robert Hughes has since fully recovered.
Tom Maynor Pope County Sheriff's Department, Golconda
On the evening of March 1, 1997, deputy sheriff Tom Maynor was looking for flood damage when he saw a car had washed off the road and a woman was clinging to the luggage rack as the water rushed past. Without a rope or anything to secure him, the deputy waded through the chest-high water to rescue the woman. Both the woman and the deputy were treated at Massac Memorial Hospital in Metropolis for hypothermia.
Rickey Rogers private citizen, Springfield
On May 31, 1996, a group of unsupervised boys were swimming in a pool at an apartment complex and playing a game called "hold your breath all day long." Rickey Rogers had just returned to the complex, where his fiancee lives, after being treated at a local hospital emergency department for a burn on his forearm. He noticed one of the boys had not surfaced for more than two minutes. After retrieving the 9-year-old boy from the pool, Rogers performed CPR until the boy began breathing again. An ambulance transported the boy to St. John's Hospital where he was admitted for observation.
John J. Rother Illinois State Police, District 19 (Mount Carmel)
Kelly Johnson Mount Carmel Police Department
During the late evening of March 25, 1996, trooper John Rother was pursuing a speeding vehicle near Mount Carmel when the driver crossed the centerline and lost control of the car, which overturned in a water-filled ditch. After calling for emergency assistance, the trooper was able to safely remove the vehicle's passenger, but he saw the driver was trapped with his head underwater. Kelly Johnson arrived and helped Rother to keep the driver's head out of the water until rescuers could free the person from the car. Both occupants of the car were taken to Wabash General Hospital in Mount Carmel.
Daniel E. Sawyer Illinois State Police, District 21(Clifton)
On March 11, 1996, just as Master Sgt. Daniel Sawyer was finishing one emergency call, he heard a radio call for an ambulance to be dispatched to the District 21 headquarters. When he
arrived at headquarters, he found a man who was having an allergic reaction to medication and was unable to breath due to swelling in his throat. Using artificial respiration, Sawyer was able to force air in and out of the man's lungs until the ambulance arrived.
Ann Schmidt-Lyons private citizen, Decatur
On December 9, 1996, Miranda Jess, a 14-year-old junior in high school, was competing in a varsity basketball game when she collapsed. Anne Schmidt-Lyons rushed forward and began CPR until the fire department arrived. The girl was sent to Decatur Memorial Hospital and later to St. John's Hospital in Springfield.
Mark VanVleck private citizen, Rockford
Returning from a camping trip on the morning of March 24, 1996, Mark VanVleck and three Boy Scouts saw the front porch of a house was on fire. VanVleck, an assistant Scout master, told the Boy Scouts to pound on the doors of neighboring houses and have someone call 911. Unable to reach the front door, VanVleck ran to the back of the burning house but could not get inside. His shouted warnings of "fire" aroused a neighbor, who ran to the bedroom window of the burning house and also began to yell "fire," which woke up the residents. VanVleck kicked in the back door in order to get the family out of the house.
of Public Health
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