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Oct. 2, 2009

Twenty-nine people to receive lifesaving and humanitarian awards

TUMWATER — Twenty-nine people will be given lifesaving and humanitarian awards at the 58th annual Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference in Tacoma Oct. 7-8. Their heroic acts aided individuals involved in vehicle accidents, who suffered heart attacks, near-drownings, choking incidents and other perils.

The conference will be at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. More than 1,500 people are expected to participate in more than 70 events, including workshops, exhibitions, demonstrations, a trade show, and special events such as a forklift rodeo and poletop-rescue competition. Registration begins onsite at 7 a.m. Oct. 7. Cost is $160. The conference is sponsored by the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board and the Department of Labor & Industries.

Mike Heuer, Awards Committee chairman, will present the lifesaving awards 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 prevented the loss of life by means other than hands-on actions.

Here are the lifesaving and humanitarian awards, listed according to where the individuals work or live:
Gig Harbor - Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife employees Erik Talent, Kenny Jackson and a co-worker were working at Minter Creek Hatchery removing logs to help prevent flooding. As one log broke free, a sudden rush of water knocked the co-worker off his feet, sweeping him downstream and into an eight-foot-deep plunge pool. Talent was leaving for the day when he saw what happened and rushed to assist the two men. Although recently diagnosed with pneumonia, Talent worked at pulling the victim from the frigid water as Jackson ran to call for help. When Jackson returned, they pulled the victim onto the bank. Jackson initiated CPR until medics arrived. Their quick actions saved their co-worker.

Hoquiam - Ed Rozmaryn was at home one July evening when he heard a large crash just down the road. Rozmaryn ran out to the road and saw a smoking pickup truck that had hit a tree and flipped onto its top.  Rozmaryn called 911 and then headed towards the vehicle. Inside he saw a single male occupant, trapped upside down in the vehicle, which was now on fire. Rozmaryn quickly pulled the victim out of the burning vehicle. The victim escaped with only minor cuts and scrapes.

Longview - Castle Rock Police Officer Charlie Worley was driving through a residential neighborhood in Longview on his way to work. Over his police radio, Officer Worley heard that a fire had erupted in a home a few blocks from his own residence. When Worley arrived at that address, he found the home on fire and was told there was someone still inside. Without hesitation, Officer Worley kicked in the front door, searched inside, found the 77-year-old resident, and picked her up and carried her to safety. Officer Worley’s swift actions saved the woman’s life.

Olympia - On what started as a routine work day, Jon Brogger and Sunny Hawkins found a co-worker unconscious in her cubicle. After not finding a pulse, Brogger began chest compressions and Hawkins administered respirations while another worker called 911. Paramedics arrived and were able to revive the worker with a defibrillator before taking her to the hospital. Medical personnel at the hospital praised Hawkins and Brogger for their fast actions, which staved off damage to the brain that occurs when it is starved for oxygen. Their co-worker made a full recovery.  

Redmond ARedmond Junior High School seventh-grader collapsed shortly after running a warm-up lap in teacher Chris Broderick’s gym class. Mike Thomas, another teacher, ran over to help. The student wasn’t breathing, so Thomas started CPR while Broderick went for help. Principal Prato Barone and football coach Scott Hagerman arrived to help. Barone relieved Thomas and continued chest compressions while Broderick began respirations. Hagerman brought in a defibrillator to deliver electrical shock. Barone, Broderick, and Hagerman continued CPR until paramedics arrived and took the student to the hospital. Following days of uncertainty, the student made a recovery.

Richland - Benton County PUD employee Todd Gaston was at the Columba Basin Racquet Club in Richland when an employee ran by him yelling that a boy had drowned in the outdoor pool. As Gaston arrived on the scene, he saw that the 5-year-old boy’s eyes were rolled back and that he was bluish in color. He quickly checked for breathing and a pulse and after finding neither, he started CPR. Gaston continued CPR for several minutes until the boy started coughing. Gaston then rolled him on his side into the recovery position and cleaned out his mouth, staying with him until paramedics arrived to take over. Gaston’s fast actions and CPR training helped prevent a tragic ending. 

Seattle - A junior at the University of Washington was in her sorority room alone when she suffered a seizure. Although diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 16, her seizures were well controlled by medication. One of her sorority sisters, Amy Lange discovered her unconscious on the floor and called for help. Two others, Alaia Davies and Helena Habes, rushed in to help. Habes immediately started CPR while Davies called 911. Medics arrived shortly and were able to rush her to the hospital. Although her sorority sisters did a heroic job of trying to save her, the victim did not regain consciousness and passed away a few days later.

Snohomish CountyA 16-year-old Stanwood girl lost control and drove her vehicle into the Stillaguamish River. Snohomish County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Gordon discovered the car submerged and upside down. Darrow Carpet employees Jeremy Darrow and Nathan McGrath were trying to rescue the victims as Gordon jumped in to help. Snohomish County Deputy Brian Odenborg arrived and joined the effort. McGrath entered the car and found a lifeless victim. The men took the girl to shore where Stanwood Police Chief Ty Trenary and Sgt. Barry Ruchty began CPR and brought back a heartbeat. Odenborg and Gordon continued searching until they determined there wasn’t another victim. 

Tacoma - City of Tacoma employees Kendra McCoy and Lynn Walker were in a meeting when a co-worker approached them. Walker noticed that she seemed unable to talk and appeared to be choking. The victim began to panic and flailed her arms as she tried to gasp for air. McCoy maneuvered around her to perform the Heimlich maneuver. When she was unable to dislodge the obstruction, Walker asked McCoy to repeat the maneuver, but with more force.  After the second attempt, the food dislodged. Their co-worker is doing fine today.

Walla WallaA 60-year-old employee was working in a remote field location near Walla Walla when he suddenly collapsed in front of his employer, Kirk Baumann. After Baumann determined that the employee was not breathing and had no pulse, he sent another worker for help and immediately started CPR. A fire unit arrived shortly with a defibrillator and gave one shock to revive the man. Once stable, he was transported to the nearest hospital 20 miles away.  When he arrived, he was conscious, alert and talking. The next day, the employee received a new pacemaker and is now doing fine. Due to the time and distance from any medical facility, Baumann's quick actions led to a positive outcome.
Wenatchee - Washington State Patrol Trooper James Arnold  was enjoying a June afternoon at a Lake Wenatchee residence when he looked out the window and observed what appeared to be a man struggling in cold water about 100 yards off shore. Walking outside for a closer look, he realized the man was struggling to get back on his overturned jet ski. Arnold grabbed a small row boat and paddled as quickly as he could since the man was losing the strength to stay above the water. As Arnold reached the exhausted man, he was able to pull him out of the water and into the boat just as the jet ski sank to the bottom of the lake. Arnold’s quick reactions helped prevent a likely drowning from hypothermia and exhaustion.

Wenatchee - Chelan CountyPUD employees Janet Jaspers, Randy Lowe and Hugh Owen were out jogging during their lunch hour when they saw a young woman standing outside a railing of the pedestrian bridge at Wenatchee's Confluence State Park. The height of the bridge from the river bed below is approximately 35-40 feet. As the employees approached the young woman, Jaspers told her to come back over the rail and stand on the inside. She refused, indicating she was suicidal and would not be coming back over the rail. Realizing that the situation was critical, Lowe ran back to one of our nearest facilities to call 911 for help while Owens and Jaspers remained at the pedestrian bridge with the young woman. Jaspers continued talking with the woman, eventually convincing her to return to the inside of the railing. The woman agreed to go the hospital when paramedics arrived.

Wenatchee – Rex King of the Monitor Fire Department was on his way home when he saw black smoke billowing from the Fontanelle Retirement Condominium Community. Although off duty, King radioed to report tall flames coming from a garage and several condominium units. The Battalion Chief arrived and prepared a fire hydrant as King pounded on doors to evacuate residents. King rescued several residents as their attics were burning – some only minutes away from their ceilings caving in. The fire turned out to be the most destructive residential fire in Wenatchee in more than a decade, wiping out five homes and badly damaging a sixth. King’s fast actions and attentiveness helped save several lives. 

Wishram - Jon Paul Anderson, a Department of Natural Resources forester, was traveling on SR-14 near Wishram when a motorcycle that passed him began to fishtail. The motorcyclist lost control and went into a ditch, striking a rocky embankment. Anderson radioed for an ambulance as he stopped, only to find the unconscious man had quit breathing. Anderson began CPR, which revived the motorcyclist as paramedics arrived. Throughout transport to a hospital the motorcyclist began to go in and out of cardiac arrest and died shortly after arrival at the hospital. While the victim did not survive, Anderson’s actions prolonged the victims’ life long enough to give paramedics a chance to stabilize and transport him to a hospital.

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For media information: Xenofon Moniodis, 360-902-6458

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