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September 8, 2003

Governor’s safety conference to honor 27 with lifesaving awards

TUMWATER — University of Washington basketball standout Kayla Burt collapses and is saved by her friends after her heart fails. Dan Hill pulls a driver from a burning car, while Dorie Kness renders first aid to another crash victim. Scott Schutt saves a 10-year-old from a burning house. These are just some of the lifesaving heroes to be honored by Governor Gary Locke at the 52nd Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference.

In all, 27 people will be honored this year for their heroic actions. The award recipients are from Bellevue, Colville, Ellensburg, Elma, Enumclaw, Everett, Forks, Kirkland, Maple Valley, Marysville, Olympia, Redmond, Seattle, Spokane, Stratford, Tacoma and Yelm.

The annual safety and health conference will be held Sept. 17 and 18 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle. The awards will be presented during the opening session, which begins at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 17. The conference is co-sponsored by the Governor, the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board and the Washington Department of Labor & Industries.

Lifesaving awards honor individuals who use their first aid training and hands-on actions to save someone’s life. The recipients are:

Bellevue —Cheryl Brown, a Quest Communications employee, helped rescue the driver of a vehicle that plunged over a cliff in the Wenatchee National Forest. She cut away part of the seat to relieve pressure on the victim’s trapped limbs and told rescuers at the top of the cliff that jaws-of-life equipment would be needed. The victim survived.

Ellensburg — Perkins Restaurant owner Rick Haberman requires all of his employees to be first aid certified and it paid off when he and employees Carly Fitter and Missy Harvold worked as a team to perform CPR on Jason Dennis, a Kittitas High School student and employee of the restaurant, when he suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed at work. Later, doctors installed a pacemaker and defibrillator in Jason’s chest and he returned home 10 days after the incident.

Elma — Steve Strong, a Snelson Co. employee, was having dinner at an Elma restaurant when he heard the bartender yell, "Oh my god, he's choking." Steve performed the Heimlich maneuver, dislodging a piece of steak from the victim’s throat.

Enumclaw — Michael Davies, a Department of Natural Resources forest technician, assisted the victim of a motorcycle accident, Christopher Reynolds, on the Tahuya State Forest trail. Christopher had been thrown from his bike and hit a tree. Michael rode 2½ miles to contact the Mason County Fire District emergency response. Unfortunately, two days later, Christopher died from complications not related to the accident.

Everett — Greg Meinhold, a commercial real estate broker with Hospitality Specialist, noticed a man in distress near his canoe in Silver Lake. A canoe was docked nearby but had no paddle, so Greg ran into a nearby restaurant kitchen and grabbed a cookie sheet to paddle out to the drowning man. He rescued the man, who then was treated for hypothermia.

Forks — When an insulin-dependent diabetic’s blood-sugar level became extremely low, causing him to be unable to continue a hike near Clearwater, Correctional Officers Roben Smith and Sam Kennedy from the Olympic Correction Center volunteered to help. The officers, assisted by inmates from the facility, worked for more than nine hours to cut a path and carry the victim up a recently logged 1,000-foot-high ravine to a waiting emergency medical team.

Kirkland — Scott Conrad, a security guard from Evergreen Healthcare, and a friend were camping near Morgan Creek when they heard a commotion and found that two Jet Skiers had collided on Lake Salmon Le Sac, leaving one man missing. They borrowed a boat to help in the search and spotted the man, pulling him to safety. The victim was treated for hypothermia.

Maple Valley — Lee M. Gotti, a Boeing employee, was attending coworker Romeo Bryant's retirement potluck luncheon. A piece of chicken became lodged in Romeo’s throat. When Lee saw that Romeo was in distress, he immediately applied the Heimlich maneuver and saved Romeo.

Marysville — Santos Lopez, a Boeing wire assembler, and his wife saw a number of Good Samaritans assisting a man in a Blazer and stopped to help. The man was Stephen Clark who had suffered cardiac arrest. Santos performed CPR on Stephen, who survived.

Olympia — Attending a party while vacationing in the Bahamas, Michael Wilkinson of the South Bay Fire Department saw a female friend leave a party with people she had just met. When she didn’t return, he became concerned and went looking for her. He spotted her floating face down in the ocean and made his way through the sharp coral to reach the unconscious victim. Pulling her from the water with the help of a friend, he performed CPR and revived her. Michael also insisted the ambulance crew immobilize her to prevent possible spinal injuries prior to placing her in the ambulance.

Olympia — Darrin Adams, a Labor & Industries employee, was in the Tumwater L&I
cafeteria and noticed a group of workers unsuccessfully patting a choking woman on the back. He immediately stepped in, performed the Heimlich maneuver and saved the victim.

Redmond — Don Lindstrom, a City of Redmond employee, was hunting in the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area when he met a group of hunters. One of the hunters complained of chest pain and his condition worsened. Don determined that the hunter needed medical assistance and went for help, hiking more than 10 miles to an old mining camp, where he asked the owner to radio for help. The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office dispatched a search and rescue helicopter to airlift the hunter. The victim had a collapsed lung and would likely have died without Don’s help.

Seattle — University of Washington basketball players Loree Payne, Giuliana and Gioconda Mendiola, and Erica Schelly were at teammate Kayla Burt’s house celebrating New Year’s Eve when Kayla started feeling lightheaded and dizzy. Kayla went upstairs and sat down on her bed with Loree, when suddenly she fell face down on the floor and started twitching. Kayla’s teammates worked to revive her and administered CPR until Medic One arrived. Kayla was diagnosed with a rare heart condition that can cause her heart to stop. Thanks to the actions of her teammates, Kayla survived.

Spokane — Dorie Kness, an Avista Corp. construction technician, and Dan Hill, a woodworker with Architectural Woodwork and Design, went into action when they witnessed two vehicles overturn into the median on I-90. Dan removed one victim from her burning car while Dorie aided the other driver who had been thrown from the other car. Both people survived.

Stratford — Scott Schutt, a Department of Transportation maintenance technician, was on his way to work at the Coulee City Shed when he saw a house fire. A man that had escaped the fire let him know a girl was trapped inside. Scott ran to the bedroom window, smashed the glass with a rock and hollered to the 10-year-old girl to come to his voice; when she reached the window, he pulled her out. Emergency Medical Services transported her to Harborview Medical Center where she was treated for smoke inhalation and second-degree burns. She survived.

Tacoma — Wendell C. Daniels, a Tacoma Public Utilities employee, and his wife were shopping at Costco. Noticing a very red-faced man with his hands to his throat, Wendell’s wife pointed the situation out and Wendell immediately asked the man if he needed assistance. Performing the Heimlich maneuver, Wendell saved him.

Yelm — Joe Crockett, a Boeing employee, saw a man chocking and ran over to assist. The victim was having dinner with six of his coworkers and a piece of bread had gotten stuck in his throat, blocking his airway. Joe performed the Heimlich maneuver and saved him.

Humanitarian award

Humanitarian awards are presented when lifesaving efforts were made but the victim did not survive, or when actions or deeds prevent the loss of life by means other than hands-on actions.

Colville — Marvin Fikes, forest warden with the Department of Natural Resources, was on his way to work when he was flagged down at a motor-vehicle accident. A young boy had been thrown from the car and lay unconscious by the road. Marvin quickly contacted DNR, requesting emergency medical services. He kept the boy’s airway open until medics arrived. Although Marvin did his best to save the boy, the injuries were too severe and the boy did not survive. To recognize Marvin's valiant efforts, he is being awarded a Humanitarian Award.

Seattle — Gary Jackson and Paul Knebel, representatives of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 751, were asked to investigate why Myron Cochran had uncharacteristically failed to come to work or call in sick. Company and EMT policies did not allow for involvement because of the short time period, so they approached the King County Sheriff's Department and, after describing the situation, finally convinced them to take down the door. They found Myron lying on the floor suffering from a stroke, unable to speak and severely dehydrated. An EMT unit was then able to respond and help save Myron’s life.

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For media information: Jim Knutsen, 360-902-5402 or knuj235@lni.wa.gov

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