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Oct. 7, 1996

Real-life heroes to be recognized at safety conference

TUMWATER - A Moses Lake teacher and a Spokane hotel security officer, who between them potentially prevented the deaths of dozens of people in separate shooting rampages, will be among the 24 Washington workers and residents honored for saving lives during the last year.

The two-dozen real-life heroes will be recognized and honored during the opening session of the 45th Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Conference being held on Oct. 24 and 25 in Spokane. The conference, co-sponsored by the Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board and the state Department of Labor & Industries, will highlight a number of occupational injury and health issues including the dramatic increase of workplace violence.

"But first, the conference will honor the men and women whose quick-thinking, willingness to get involved and fast actions saved the lives of Washington workers and residents," said L&I Director Mark O. Brown. "And this year's winners include two men who experienced workplace violence - up close and far too personal."

Jon Lane, a physical education teacher at Frontier Junior High School in Moses Lake, came face to face with a gun-wielding student on Feb. 2, 1996, when he opened the door of a math class to find out why the students inside were crying and shrieking. A 14-year-old gunman, having already shot and killed the math teacher, fatally wounded two teenage boys and seriously wounded a 13-year-old girl, was threatening to shoot more students. Lane has been credited with calming down the teenager and negotiating the safe passage of several students from the room before overpowering the teen and holding him until police could disarm him. Lane is a 1996 lifesaving award winner.

Four days later, Chad Edward Eastep, director of security at the Ridpath Hotel in Spokane, faced almost the identical situation in the crowded dining room of the hotel's restaurant. Hearing shouts and confusion, Eastep went to investigate and found an armed man standing over a fatally wounded waitress and the seriously wounded dining room manager. Gun in hand and carrying a bag with additional weapons, the 78-year-old shooter appeared to be searching for additional victims. When Eastep drew his weapon and confronted the gunman, the man turned his own gun and shot himself in the head, inflicting a fatal wound. Eastep also will receive lifesaving honors.

In that four-day span, Eastern Washington was rocked by the second leading cause of occupational death in America - workplace violence. Conference attendees in Spokane can attend panel discussions and other presentations to learn about workplace violence, what can be done to prevent it and how to protect workers.

Meanwhile, others who will receive lifesaving awards (listed by hometown) include:

Anacortes
Joseph and Deanna Oien, a father and daughter who teamed up to provide life sustaining cardiopulmonary resuscitation when a loved one was stricken by "sudden death syndrome."

Auburn
Victor Mills, who teamed with co-workers at the Boeing Company's Everett plant to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation when another worker suffered a heart attack.

Castle Rock
Rick Buck, a Department of Natural Resources crew supervisor, who saved the life of a correctional facility inmate after the man suffered a severe reaction to multiple bee stings.

Edmonds
Tom Williams, a Boeing worker who teamed up with a co-worker to provide medical aid to another co-worker seriously cut when a radial arm saw broke loose from its housing.

Ellensburg
Alan Lawson, a Department of Natural Resources crew supervisor who assisted four motorists injured in a traffic accident.

Ephrata
George Smethers, a truck driver who went to the aid of a storage worker who collapsed while loading potatoes at a Quincy-area storage facility.

Everett
Douglas Edwards, who teamed with co-workers at the Boeing Company's Everett plant to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation when another worker suffered a heart attack.

Federal Way
David Littlefield, an air traffic controller who talked a man with no flying experience through a successful crash landing after the pilot suffered a heart attack and died at the plane's controls.

Forks
Les Klontz, a Clallam County Public Utility District operations superintendent who teamed with a co-worker to save the life of a cable installer who suffered a severe reaction to a bee sting.

Freeland
Ralph Yula, who teamed with co-workers at the Boeing Company's Everett plant to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation when another worker suffered a heart attack.

Kent
Philip Holbrook, who also teamed with co-workers at the Boeing Company's Everett plant to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation when another worker suffered a heart attack.

Port Angeles
Terry Lind, a Clallam County Public Utility District lineman who teamed with a co-worker to save the life of a cable installer who suffered a severe reaction to a bee sting.

Poulsbo
Al Moore, Mike Davis, Anita Mason and Terri Waag, who provided cardiopulmonary resuscitation after a customer at their grocery store collapsed from a heart attack.

Puyallup
Matthew Voellger, a Boeing worker who teamed up with a co-worker to provide medical aid to another co-worker seriously cut when a radial arm saw broke loose from its housing.

Seattle
Scott Ross, Jim Aldrich and Kathleen Johnson, a Seattle City Light line crew that prevented a distraught woman from jumping from the West Seattle Freeway bridge.

Tacoma
Tom Cobo, a Simpson Tacoma Kraft utility worker who used the Heimlich Maneuver to prevent a 14-year-old boy from choking on a gumball lodged in his throat.

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For media information, contact: 
Bill Ripple, L&I, 360-902-5407, ripp235@lni.wa.gov

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