May 19, 1999
STATE HONORS INDIVIDUALS FOR HEROIC ACTS
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- The Illinois Department of Public Health today honored 17 individuals for acts of courage as part of the state's 12th annual Emergency Medical Services Awards.
"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 our heartfelt thanks."
Honorees received certificates, signed by Gov. George H. Ryan and Dr. Lumpkin, as part of the Department's observance of Emergency Medical Services Week, May 16-22. The special week provides an opportunity for communities and organizations to honor those involved in emergency medical services.
"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."
Nominations for the awards are solicited by the Department from police, firefighters, paramedics and others from throughout the state.
Following is a list of honorees and a brief description of their deeds.
Bilal Alshakhanbeh, Private citizen
Kevin G. Schober, Illinois State Police
On May 25, 1998, a car entered the Kennedy Expressway traveling in the wrong direction, resulting in a head-on collision with a taxicab. The taxi caught on fire shortly after the collision. Arriving first at the scene, Illinois State Police trooper Kevin G. Schober began to remove the critically injured occupants of the burning taxi. Bilal Alshakhanbeh stopped to assist with the rescue. Schober was treated for smoke inhalation.
Gail Hagen, Chicago Police Department
Dustin Roscoe, Chicago Police Department
Grand Central District police officers Gail Hagen and Dustin Roscoe were patrolling on the evening of Aug. 1, 1998, when they came upon a burning house. A family of six was trapped inside on the second floor. The front and back doors were both impassable, so the officers instructed family members to jump and they would catch them. By the time firefighters arrived, the family was safely on the ground. The father of the family was admitted to the hospital with a leg injury; the rest of the family was treated for minor injuries and smoke inhalation.
John Durkin, Chicago Fire Department
On Dec. 19, 1998, ambulance commander John Durkin received a report of a swerving vehicle heading west on 63Srd Street. The driver appeared to be unconscious and the vehicle out of control. Arriving at the scene, Durkin exited his ambulance and pursued the vehicle on foot. Upon catching up with the vehicle, he opened the door and steered the vehicle away from nearby pedestrians. After the vehicle struck a parked car and a pole, it came to a complete stop. The driver's airway was obstructed, requiring immediate life-saving treatment.
Susan Nick, 911 dispatcher
On Tuesday, March 9, 1999, a frantic mother called 911 because her 13-month-old baby had stopped breathing. Susan Nick, a 16-year veteran dispatcher, instructed the mother on how to begin resuscitation. In the meantime, Nick dispatched paramedics to the scene, who took over the resuscitation efforts. When the baby's breathing was restored, she was transported to a local hospital.
Lee T. Eddy, Private citizen
Matthew Moyes, Paramedic
On May 30, 1998, Matthew Moyes and Lee T. Eddy were attending a party at an apartment complex when they heard children say a boy was at the bottom of the complex's pool. Eddy jumped in and pulled the lifeless child to the edge of the pool. Moyes began emergency medical treatment on the 8-year-old, who regained consciousness before the ambulance arrived.
Lavonne Stumpf, Private citizen
On Tuesday, Aug. 11, 1998, Lavonne Stumpf, a retired nurse, came to the aid of an 89-year-old woman, who choked on some food during a meal at the Ela Township Area Senior Citizen Center in Lake Zurich. A center's staff member had unsuccessfully attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver before calling 911. Stumpf tried the maneuver and finally opened the woman's mouth and removed a large piece of meat that was lodged in the back of her mouth. Paramedics arrived and treated the woman at the scene.
Bob Rawlins, Lincoln Police Department
Diana Short, Lincoln Police Department
During routine patrol on Thursday, March 25, 1999, Lincoln police officer Diana Short noticed smoke coming from an apartment on South Chicago Street about 1:30 a.m. Short found a young man who had broken a front window and jumped out. Disoriented, cut and bleeding, the man was banging on the locked front door. The officer kicked in the door and found a young woman, unconscious, just inside the door. Officer Bob Rawlins arrived at the scene, entered the building and found a small child who he handed out to Short. Short entered the building again and rescued a 3-year-old girl. A woman was still trapped inside, but the intense fire and smoke prevented the officers from entering the building. Firefighters arrived and, with special protective gear, were able to rescue the 53-year-old woman.
Nanette C. Upchurch, Private citizen
On Dec. 6, 1998, while driving near the Salem reservoir spillway, Nanette Upchurch was stopped by two young boys who asked her to assist their friend who had fallen into the lower spillway pool while trying to retrieve a hat. Upchurch saw the boy struggling in the pool, quickly drove to Salem's hospital and asked that someone call 911, and then returned to the spillway. After climbing down a steep embankment, Upchurch entered the 50 degree F water and swam 35 feet to the boy's lifeless body. Unable to swim with the 9-year-old to the shoreline, Upchurch kept his head above water and waited for rescue personnel to arrive.
Eric M. Oller, Illinois State Police
On July 3, 1998, Illinois State Police trooper Eric M. Oller was on his way home from a detail in Marshall County when he came upon a personal injury crash on Illinois Route 29, just north of the Peoria/Marshall county line. A northbound motorcycle had crossed the center line and struck a southbound truck. The collision caused the amputation of the motorcyclist's left foot and left arm. Oller radioed for assistance and, after verifying that the motorcyclist was still alive, placed tourniquets on the victim's arm and leg. The victim was transported to a local hospital, where the emergency department physician credited Oller's actions with preventing the victim from bleeding to death.
Robert E. Price, Illinois State Police
On Aug. 23, 1998, Illinois State Police trooper Robert E. Price was on foot patrol at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield when he noticed a family in distress at the Food-a-Rama. A 2-year-old had suffered a seizure and was not breathing. The little girl's jaw was clinched, so Price covered her mouth and puffed twice in her nose. She resumed breathing and was transported to an area hospital where she was treated and released.
Richard Van Dyke, Private citizen
Ricky Van Dyke, Private citizen
On the evening of July 12, 1998, a rural Springfield man and his 17-year-old son, Ricky, averted a potential tragedy at a backyard swimming pool. A 6-year-old boy noticed his 4-year-old sister was struggling to stay above water. With the assistance of Ricky Van Dyke, the girl was pulled from the water. Ricky began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and was joined by his father to perform two-person CPR. By the time the ambulance arrived, the little girl had begun to cry.
Fred Vetter, Private citizen
Just before 8 p.m. on Monday, March 22, 1999, Fred Vetter observed that his neighbor's house was on fire. He ran across the street and smashed in the front door. Due to thick smoke, Vetter had difficulty seeing his neighbor but heard the man answer his call. Vetter was able to get the man out of the house before emergency personnel arrived.
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