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October 21, 2002

Governor's safety conference to honor 24 with lifesaving awards

TUMWATER - Truck driver Lee Mease couldn't believe his eyes. A little boy was clinging to the back of the sport utility vehicle in front of him on the freeway.

Mease successfully signaled the SUV driver, who then stopped her car and the 4-year-old boy alighted from the vehicle's rear bumper unharmed. Mease, the boy's Good Samaritan, is one of 24 people to be honored for their heroic actions in saving the life of another person. Governor Gary Locke will present the awards at the 51st Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Conference in Spokane.

This year's lifesaving award recipients are from the communities of Acme, Cashmere, Everett, Kent, Moses Lake, Olympia, Pullman, Redmond, Seattle, Sedro Woolley, Sequim, University Place and Wenatchee.

The annual safety and health conference will be held Oct. 30 and 31 at the Spokane Convention Center. Up to 1,800 people are expected to attend. The conference, which dates back to 1949, is co-sponsored by the Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board and the Washington Department of Labor & Industries.

Lee Mease of Moses Lake, a Milky Way truck driver, was on Highway 12 when he spotted what looked like a person hanging on to the back of an SUV. At first he didn't believe it, but as he approached, he saw that it was a little boy crying and hanging on for his life. Mease sped up, blew his truck's horn, attempting to get the SUV to stop. The other driver accelerated to 70 miles per hour, thinking it was a case of road rage. Mease caught up and pulled even to the SUV. He pointed and yelled until he had the driver's attention. She pulled over and stopped. The driver was the boy's grandmother. She had not realized her grandson had jumped onto the back of the SUV as she left the house after a visit.

The other heroes receiving lifesaving awards are:

Jon Stuewe and Roxanna Winn, Olympia: Jon Stuewe and Roxanna Winn, employees of Labor & Industries, found co-worker Linda Dammann lying on the floor having an apparent heart attack. Stuewe immediately went to her aid and evaluated the situation. Dammann was unresponsive, not breathing and turning blue. Stuewe started CPR and was joined by Winn. Together, they performed two-person CPR until an EMT arrived and took over. Their actions saved Dammann's life.

Eric Degman, Wenatchee: During a horseback ride in Nahahum Canyon, Jim Bennett fell off his horse and was knocked unconscious. Eric Degman, a Fish and Wildlife Specialist for Chelan County PUD, found Bennett face down and not breathing. Degman quickly began using the skills learned in a recently completed wilderness first-aid class. A fellow rider went for help as Degman started a CPR assessment. Bennett began breathing, but could not speak. Fearing a neck or spinal injury, Degman unsaddled the horses and used the blankets to immobilize and to treat Bennett for shock until he was airlifted to safety.

Jordana Wood, Sequim: Jennifer Ellison pulled her car over to assist the victims of a motor-vehicle accident. Another Good Samaritan, Jordana Wood, also stopped at the scene to offer help to the crash victims. Wood saw another car traveling at a high rate of speed heading directly toward Ellison. Without hesitation, she ran and pushed Ellison, a complete stranger, out of the vehicle's path, preventing her from being crushed between two cars. Unable to escape the impact, Wood was struck and thrown more than 50 feet. Suffering multiple pelvic and internal injuries, she is still recovering after numerous surgeries.

Terry Poole, Bret Ferris and Justin LeDoux, Olympia: Bob Clumb was shopping for produce at the Olympia Farmers Market when he started feeling dizzy. As he left the produce area, he suffered a heart attack and collapsed. Retired Olympia firefighter Terry Poole, and off-duty firefighters Bret Ferris and Justin LeDoux, saw Clumb collapse and rushed to his aid. They administered CPR after determining that he had no pulse or respiration. The market's automatic external defibrillator (AED), donated by the Chehalis Tribe, was used to restart his heart. The three men continued treatment until the EMT arrived to take over successful resuscitation efforts.

Ed Stuhlman and Chuck Shaw, Seattle: Todd Shipyard employees Ed Stuhlman and Chuck Shaw were notified of a man down. Responding, they found Carl Hagberg unconscious with no pulse or respiration. Stuhlman started rescue breathing while Shaw set up the shipyard's defibrillator. Three shocks were administered in accordance with procedures. Unable to find vital signs, the men performed CPR and used the defibrillator to analyze Hagberg's cardiac activity. After a fourth shock, a weak pulse was detected, but Hagberg was still unable to breath on his own. They continued rescue breathing until the Seattle Fire Department arrived.

Dave Girts and Shawna Woodard, Seattle: Ben Ward had a heart attack while returning to his vehicle in the University of Washington's parking garage. Sgt. Girts and Officer Woodard of the UW Police Department responded to an emergency call for assistance. A bystander was administering CPR to Ward in the stairwell. The officers took over the rescue operation. Sgt. Girts performed rescue breathing while Officer Woodward operated the defibrillator to shock Ward's heart into restarting. The victim started breathing and regained his pulse. Soon, the medics arrived to transport Ward to the hospital.

Charlie Bauer, Sedro Woolley: Chief Inspector Charlie Bauer of Snelson Companies Inc. was observing open-trench work when Rick Stauffer had a seizure and fell into the ditch. Stauffer was face down in the mud as Bauer entered the trench. He turned him over and saw that the victim was turning blue. Bauer assessed the situation and found that Stauffer's airway was blocked. He started performing the steps for CPR. He removed the obstruction and was preparing to start chest compressions as Stauffer took a deep breath and began breathing on his own. Bauer monitored the accident until the medics arrived. The doctor credited Bauer with saving Stauffer's life.

Chris Larson, Pullman: Avista employees Chris Larson and Jim Womble were returning from a funeral when they spotted a van maneuvering strangely and suspected the driver was in trouble. When the vehicle stopped, they investigated and found the driver leaning to one side and unresponsive. They checked his vital signs, finding no pulse or respiration. Womble left for help as Larson performed CPR. By the time the ambulance arrived, the victim's pulse and respiration had been restored. He was flown to the hospital, where a defibrillator was inserted. This is Larson's second lifesaving award. His first, in 1980, was for saving a co-worker's life.

J.C. Springer and Martha Rios, Redmond: Stan Antoon was standing near his landscaping flatbed truck at a job site when a minivan lost control and pinned him between the two vehicles. The impact severed his right leg and fractured his left femur and pelvis, causing Antoon to loose a significant amount of blood and go into shock. J.C. Springer and Martha Rios, employees of Avalon Bay Communities Inc., ran to help. They used Springer's belt as a tourniquet to control Antoon's blood loss and attended to the victim until paramedics arrived. Rios used her Spanish to translate for emergency workers and to comfort Antoon's fellow workers. Antoon returned to work five months ago.

Mike McGinnis, Olympia: A Wilson Construction general foreman, Mike McGinnis saw Roy Snead, a tree trimmer, collapsing to the ground. Within a few seconds, he helped position Snead on his back and checked for vital signs. Finding no pulse, McGinnis and a fellow employee started performing two-person CPR until help arrived. Snead was placed on life support and is getting better every day, thanks to McGinnis and his fellow worker.

Dennis Stewart, Kent: A street-use inspector with Seattle, Dennis Stewart was responding to a citizen complaint of a contractor digging without a permit when he heard a call for help. Responding, he found Ryan Peterson buried up to his chest in a trench. Peterson was starting to feel numb and was having difficulty breathing. Sensing that the contractor was in grave danger, Stewart had a bystander call 911 as he began digging with his bare hands. The efforts to help Peterson paid off - the Seattle Fire Department eventually freed him. Thanks to Stewart, he survived the ordeal.

Robert Scott, Everett: Don Brownell was on his way to check metering calibration at an inversion dam when he encountered trees downed by a winter storm. Attempting to cut the trees that blocked his access, Brownell's chainsaw kicked back, severing an artery in his arm. He had failed to make a relief cut in a tree under pressure, causing the tree to "barber-chair." He radioed for help. An emergency-aid car dispatched to the scene could not reach him due to the road conditions. Robert Scott, a watershed patrolman, braved the treacherous conditions to help Brownell. Arriving on the accident scene, Scott provided first aid, stopped the bleeding and then treated Brownell for shock. After he was stabilized, Scott transported him through hazardous conditions to the awaiting aid car.

Carlos Jolla, Cashmere: Orchard foreman Marcos DePaz of Peadmont Orchard Inc. was working on a front-end loader. He was standing between the crossbars, changing a hydraulic pressure hose, when the front fork attachment came down, pinning him between the forks and crossbar. Carlos Jolla, a co-worker, assessed DePaz's condition and found no pulse. He yelled for someone to dial 911. He used a hydraulic jack to remove the pressure and free DePaz, and then performed CPR. DePaz had a heartbeat and began breathing before the EMT arrived. Thanks to the quick thinking and action of Jolla, he survived the traumatic event.

Ron Chevalier, Acme; Denis Caron, Sedro Woolley: Lifesaving awards are presented to this team for saving the life of Richard Zavala, a unit operator of Puget Sound Refining. They recognized that Zavala was choking and immediately worked to remove the obstruction by applying the Heimlich maneuver.

Anne Springer, Olympia: Co-worker Lindy Parse was choking when Springer recognized the symptoms and performed the Heimlich maneuver, clearing Parse's airway.

Steve Hatcher, University Place: Hatcher, in a Tacoma restaurant, administered the Heimlich maneuver, dislodging a piece of food caught in an elderly woman's throat, saving her life.

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