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Sept. 23, 2004

Safety conference to honor 52 with lifesaving, humanitarian awards

TUMWATER — Fifty-two people will be given lifesaving and humanitarian awards when the 53rd annual Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference convenes in Spokane next week. Their heroics aided individuals who, among other things, suffered heart attacks, near-drownings, auto accidents and other perils.

The Sept. 29 and 30 safety and health conference will be at the Spokane Convention Center. More than 3,000 people are expected to participate in more than 70 events, including workshops, exhibitions and demonstrations, as well as a forklift rodeo, poletop-rescue competition and trade show. More conference information, including how to register, is available at www.LNI.wa.gov/Safety/TrainTools/GovConf.

Gov. Gary Locke will present the lifesaving awards in honoring individuals who use their first-aid training and hands-on actions to save someone’s life. He will also present humanitarian awards, which are given 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.

Here are the lifesaving awards, listed according to where the individuals work or live:

Auburn — When a coworker had a heart attack at a softball game, Ronald Thompson, Roger Cramer, Jim Barlett and Dwight Bishop performed CPR to save him.

Connell — ConAgra Foods employees Bob Cronkhite, Jim Coyle, Del Krumm, Claude Steele and Andy Hall used CPR and a defibrillator when a coworker had a heart attack.

East Wenatchee — Rick Kenny was driving his PUD work truck when an elderly man flagged him down. Though the 97-year-old man couldn’t communicate clearly, Kenny understood that the man’s wife had fallen in their driveway. Using his hands-free work phone, Kenny called 911 while he administered first aid to the woman, who had been lying on cold concrete for over an hour. Kenny is credited with saving her life.

Everett — Boeing inspector Duane Harper was at the Monroe Fairgrounds when a man collapsed from an apparent heart attack. Harper called for help and administered CPR, keeping him alive until EMTs arrived.

Everett — PUD meter reader Pat Kelly noticed a car slowly weaving back and forth with the driver slumped over the wheel. Risking his own life, Kelly jumped out of his vehicle and ran to catch the car before it entered a busy intersection. He jumped into the car and stopped it, waking the sleeping driver and preventing a possible fatal collision.

Kirkland — Dr. Francis Riedo, Evergreen Healthcare Medical Director for Infection Control, was skiing when he noticed a man in distress from a heart attack. Riedo called 911 and administered first aid, keeping the man alive until he could be airlifted out.

Lakewood — When a choking woman flagged down Rhynos Wilson Jr., a shuttle driver with Laidlaw Transit Services, he performed the Heimlich maneuver and saved her.

Longview — When a Longview Fibre employee collapsed with cardiac arrhythmia, an employee emergency response team that included James Brockmoller and Mark Waattenpaugh went into action. Assisted by John Kot, they performed CPR and used a defibrillator to start his heart, saving the man’s life.

Longview — In another incident at Longview Fibre, employees Al Squires and Matt Elhardt performed CPR on a heart attack victim until the emergency response team arrived and used the defibrillator to restart the coworker’s heart.

Maple Falls — Security Lieutenant Dennis Thatcher was making his early morning rounds when he saw smoke and flames coming from a camping trailer. Thatcher beat on the door of the trailer until the sleeping couple awoke. He helped the wife away from the trailer and then went back in and led her stunned and confused husband to safety.

Newman Lake — Brad Davis, a carpet installer, saw a bystander trying without success to help his choking boss. Davis, who had just completed lifesaving training, stepped in and was able to force the object from the man’s airway.

Olympia — South Sound Mental Health employee Gary Davis was traveling on Interstate 5 when he saw a tractor-trailer crash into two cars. One car caught fire with a father and two sons trapped inside. Risking his own life, Davis squeezed into the wreckage to rescue a 7-year-old boy. He tried to save the boy’s father and brother, but they were already dead. Thanks to Davis, the 7-year-old survived.

Olympia — Linemen Lloyd Long and Lon Bickler, who work for Bonneville Power Administration, were driving when they saw a man slumped over his steering wheel. Using a defibrillator from their work truck, they kept the victim alive until help arrived.

Seattle — Boeing employee Gail Goldade saw a coworker choking and used the Heimlich maneuver to expel the food from his throat.

Selah — While on a drive up the Little Naches River, Brian Robertson, Kurt Barnett, Jason Boyd and Nick Bellotti stopped to help a group of rafters who were in trouble. They discovered that a woman was stuck under a log in the river. Using ropes and teamwork, the four men went into the water, freed her and performed CPR on the unresponsive victim. EMTs arrived and rushed her to the hospital.

Spokane — PUD linemen Dave Hartill and Dana Hill were in their 16,000-pound bucket truck when a small vehicle rear-ended them and got wedged under the truck. They tried numerous efforts using their truck and equipment until they succeeded in freeing the vehicle and its passengers. All three victims were rescued and taken to the hospital.

Spokane — Gary Eyler and Barney Ryan, Avista Corp. line crewmen, were working at a construction site when a roller overturned, seriously injuring the operator and pinning him underneath the heavy equipment. Eyler and Ryan called 911 and secured the roller so that it would not crush the victim more. They kept the victim calm until help arrived. He lost his leg, but survived.

Tacoma — Paul Moore, a forensic engineer with MDE Engineers, and his wife Susan, a registered nurse, were camping near Ilwaco when they saw a boy and his father caught in a riptide. Paul went into the water and rescued the boy. Susan treated the boy for shock as Paul tried to locate the father. Unfortunately, the father drowned. Later that day as they stopped at a gas station, an elderly man collapsed into Susan’s arms. Susan found his nitroglycerin pills and administered them, saving the man’s life.

Vancouver — When a school district secretary choked during early morning hours, she was able to get to the only other person in the school before she blacked out. Dee Skilling, the school custodian, used what he’d learned in first aid to clear the blockage.

West Richland — Coyote Ridge Corrections Center officer Duane David Rhynes and his wife Sirena were vacationing in Hawaii when they witnessed an older couple get smashed into lava rocks by a giant wave. They rushed into the surf and dragged the couple to safety and then applied first aid to their wounds until EMTs arrived.

Here are the humanitarian awards:

Airway Heights — Airway Heights Correction Center employee Barbara Jackson found a baby in a box in her driveway at 5 a.m. She kept calm, called 911 and comforted the baby without disturbing it or the contents of the box until paramedics arrived.

Anacortes — When Bill Vervaart, a unit operator for Tesoro Refining and Marketing and a volunteer “first responder,” arrived at Big Lake where a 13-year-old boy was presumed drowned, he rushed into the water, diving 20 feet to find the boy and bring him up. Using CPR, Vervaart revived the boy, but sadly the boy died several days later.

Lakewood — Laidlaw Transit Service employee Paul March was operating a shuttle when he noticed a man lying in a ditch. Although the man couldn’t talk, March was able to determine that he wasn’t injured but was lost. March cared for the man while he contacted the proper authorities.

Olympia — Department of Natural Resources employee Tammy Marsh was in her car ready to leave work when she saw a man collapse. Ken Dean, Greg Bash and Bill Taylor rushed to assist and, together, they administered CPR until the ambulance arrived. Despite their gallant effort, the man did not survive.

Olympia — Department of Corrections employee Paula Terrell was at her desk when she heard a thud in a nearby office. Realizing a coworker had collapsed, Terrell began CPR as Lynn Scott and Morgan Lee called 911 and assisted in the lifesaving effort until paramedics arrived. In spite of their efforts, the man died the next day.

Olympia — Department of Natural Resources employee Jennifer Eberle was attending a Napavine auto race when a racecar caught fire. The fire spread rapidly. As onlookers ran to safety, Eberle saw a visually impaired man near the burning car, unsure of which way to go. Risking her life, she ran back to the area to lead the confused man to safety.

Seattle — Cell Therapeutics employees Shannon Burcham and Marc McKennon were mountain climbing when they encountered a heart attack victim. They began CPR and rescue efforts, continuing for 2½ hours until it was clear that the man could not be saved.

Seattle — When Boeing supervisor Tom Stratton called an employee at home, the employee sounded depressed, in pain, disoriented and confused about his medication. Stratton talked with him at length, keeping him on the phone while he arranged to get help. Medics arrived in time to stabilize the man, averting a possible suicide.


For media information: Elaine Fischer, 360-902-5413 or nele235@LNI.wa.gov

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