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September 20, 2007

Safety conference to honor 43 with lifesaving and humanitarian awards

TUMWATER — Forty-three people will be given lifesaving and humanitarian awards when the 56th annual Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference convenes in Tacoma next week. Their heroic acts aided individuals who suffered heart attacks, near-drownings, auto accidents and other perils.

The Sept. 26 and 27 conference will be at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center. More than 2,500 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. Registration begins onsite at 7 a.m. Sept. 26. Cost is $140.

Gov. Chris Gregoire will present the lifesaving awards honoring individuals who use their first‑aid training and hands-on actions to save someone’s life. She 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. The awards are presented at the opening session beginning at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday.

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

Auburn: Boeing employee Frank Cline was driving home from work last October when he came upon an accident and a car on fire. Without regard to his personal safety, and using his coat to shield him from the flames, Cline cut the seatbelt and pulled the occupant from the wreckage before it was consumed in flames. Cline, who suffered burns to his face and arms, was honored by the Seattle Fire Department for service above and beyond the call of duty.

Bellingham: Last August, a Philip Services Corp. employee suffered a major heart attack. His supervisor, Bret Leavitt, immediately called for help and seven members of Georgia Pacific’s Internal Emergency Response Team and other workers – John Kingsford-Smith, Dan Burns, Ken Pike, Curtis Gilbert, Michael Turner, Joel Martin, Loni Wiebe, Juan Garcia Jr. and Philips co-worker Kendal Skinner – all assisted in stabilizing the victim until an ambulance and paramedics arrived. The victim survived.

Colville: Three Department of Natural Resource firefighters were responding to a fire on the Kitsap Peninsula when their truck was struck by a car that crossed the centerline. When their fire truck came to rest, Don Childress, Ryan Balis and James Updike ran to the other vehicle and provided first aid and assistance to the driver until paramedics arrived. The man was airlifted to the hospital and survived. Only after he had been taken care of did the three DNR employees seek treatment for their injuries.

Ephrata: Two Grant County PUD employees, Josh Noga and R.J. Fronsman, drove their utility truck into a ditch in June to avoid a collision and then rushed to the aid of the occupants of a vehicle that had crashed into a row of trees. Four people had been injured in the crash, one of them seriously injured when he was ejected. Because of the decisive actions of these two men, the lives of four strangers were saved.

Everett/Lake Stevens: On May 5, Michael Shane, an active duty sailor working at his part-time job at Harbor Freight in Everett, witnessed a truck driver get pinned between a loading dock and his trailer. He called out to co-worker Jennifer Bontrager for help, and the two put themselves in harms way by going under the unsecured trailer and moving the victim’s head away from the rear tire. They provided aid and comfort to the seriously injured man until paramedics arrived.

Gig Harbor: Ken Wickstrom, a Peninsula Light Co. foreman, was headed back to his office in March when he noticed a man lying on the side of the road near his truck. Wickstrom, who receives CPR training through his employer each year, stopped to check on the man, as did Tom Miner, a program manager for Pierce County’s Department of Emergency Management. Miner and Wickstrom administered CPR on the man, who was suffering a heart attack, until paramedics arrived. The man eventually recovered.  

Medical Lake: On a hot summer day, Consolidated Support Services truck driver Leo Kincaid took a group of clients on an outing to Manito Park in Spokane. Near the end of the visit, Kincaid noticed a woman carrying a baby as she chased another child who was heading toward a pond. The woman handed him her baby and then jumped in after the child. Kincaid handed the baby to an onlooker and then jumped in and pulled the pair to safety.

Mount Vernon: A foreman for Snelson Companies was working in a remote location off the Mount Baker Highway when he was stung by a bee, became disoriented and fainted. A co-worker, Dave Cookson, immediately contacted paramedics and then drove the foreman to the highway to meet the ambulance.

Olympia: A 35-year-old Department of Labor & Industries employee was working at his desk when he collapsed, stopped breathing and had no pulse. A co-worker, Bill Harris, performed CPR until State Patrol troopers arrived and eventually a weak pulse was detected. The L&I employee was transported to the hospital, eventually recovered and is back at work thanks to Bill’s efforts and those of other co-workers and state employees.

Olympia: Gloria Oliver, a Marguerite Casey Foundation employee and two employees of Owl Fence, Todd Ray and Ed Marson, saw smoke coming from a Burien overpass and stopped to investigate. They found a vehicle that had smashed into a cement bulkhead. Inside the vehicle they found a trapped, semi-conscious man and flames building in the passenger compartment. The three used a fire extinguisher and carried buckets of water to dampen the fire until firefighters arrived and cut the victim from the smoldering vehicle.

Olympia: In July, Department of Natural Resources scientist Weikko Jaros and his fiancé were riding their bikes in Friday Harbor when a tractor-trailer truck went out of control and jackknifed. The truck and two cars were sliding toward them when Jaros pushed his girlfriend into a ditch and then jumped out of the way of the oncoming vehicles. One of the cars passed over his fiancé, leaving tread marks on both legs, but causing only minor injuries.

Pullman: Department of Labor & Industries employee Terry Rozell was fly fishing in Idaho with a friend and co-worker when he noticed his friend floating face down in the river. Rozell pulled him from the river and called for help. A doctor who happened to be passing by assisted, and the friend made a full recovery.

Puyallup: Comcast employee Todd Brennan and his wife were driving through Oceanside, Calif., when they came upon a motorcycle accident and the rider, who was running down the highway engulfed in flames. Without regard to his own safety, Brennan knocked the rider to the ground and patted the flames out with his bare hands, suffering second-degree burns on his hands and wrists. Thanks to his effort, the rider recovered.

Redmond: In July 2006, two Medtronic ERS employees, Oscar Rojas and Steve Copeland, rushed to the aid of a co-worker who had suffered a heart attack and was struggling to breathe. The two administered CPR until paramedics arrived. The co-worker recovered and returned to work two weeks later.

Renton: Boeing Co. employee Mark Little saw a co-worker choking on his lunch last September and quickly rushed to his aid, performing the Heimlich maneuver and successfully dislodging the blockage.

Seattle: Two Boeing managers, Steve Peterson and Kim Carter, noticed when a co-worker slumped in his chair and stopped breathing. They lowered the man to the floor and performed CPR until paramedics arrived and transported the unconscious man to the hospital.

Spokane: Three Avista Corp. employees, John Gower, Mike Pickering and Shaun Regan, were responding to a power outage in February when they came upon a garage fire. They immediately called 911 and then knocked on the door of a house just a few feet away from the garage. When they got no answer, they knocked down the door and rescued a sleeping man, his wife and several dogs from the smoky house.

Spokane: A crew from Avista Utilities was replacing a gas main at a busy intersection when gas ignited along a 15-foot section of pipe. Standing nearby was Avista employee Sam Helms, who quickly extinguished the fire before it got out of control, limiting the severity of burns suffered by two of his co-workers.

Tacoma: In May, David Burns, a security officer for Northwest Protective Services, was patrolling the Foss Landing Marina when he heard someone yelling for help. The man had fallen off his boat into 40-degree water and was being pushed against the dock by his still-running boat. Burns pulled him from the water and took him to his truck for warmth and a change of clothing. Had it not been for his efforts, the man likely would have succumbed to the elements.

Vancouver: Brenda Broers, a chemistry professor at Clark College, was having her morning coffee at a Starbucks in May when she noticed a commotion around an elderly man who had fallen to the floor and was bleeding. When nobody else provided aid, Broers checked his pulse and began performing CPR. He was taken to the hospital and recovered, but has no memory of falling or the events that paramedics said saved his life.

Wenatchee: Mike Parrish, a plant manager for Stemilt Growers, and his wife Mary, a teacher at Wenatchee High School, were traveling with their children when they came upon an accident blocking Highway 970 near Cle Elum. Two cars and a huge bull elk were involved. Mike ran to one of the cars and found the driver seriously injured, trapped behind the steering wheel and unable to breathe. He got into the back seat and held the man’s head up to straighten his airway until paramedics arrived. Meanwhile, Mary ran to the second car, where two adults were seriously injured and an infant was still buckled in a car seat. She treated the adults for shock, and then cuddled the baby. Thanks to the couples’ efforts, four people survived a serious accident.

Yakima: A manager for the Washington State Department of Transportation excused himself from a meeting and promptly collapsed. A second DOT manager, Wayne Frudd, reacted quickly. He instructed someone to call 911, assessed the co-worker’s vital signs and then opened his airway and performed quick rescue breathing until his color improved. The worker was taken to the hospital and returned to work three weeks later. 

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Information: Xenofon Moniodis at 360-902-6458

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