"These individuals are honored for
their courage, quick responses and unselfish attitudes in an effort
to save lives while possibly putting their own at risk," Gov.
Blagojevich said. "I encourage all citizens to recognize the
lifesaving work that the men and women of emergency medical services
teams provide to the communities of the state as well as our
everyday citizens who took action."
Nominations for the awards come to
the Department of Public Health from police, firefighters,
paramedics and others from throughout the state.
"Some of these honorees are faced
with danger every day in their line of work as a firefighter, police
officer or emergency responder, but these individuals went the extra
mile while in the line of duty and deserve to be commended for their
actions," said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, director of the Illinois
Department of Public Health. "Others are Illinois residents who saw
someone in need and courageously stepped in to help a fellow citizen
avoid serious injury or even death -- a true definition of a hero."
The recipients, some of whom are
emergency response professionals and others who are civilian heroes,
will receive certificates, signed by the governor and Whitaker. The
Guy Goberville, Chicago Fire
Department -- While at a Chicago hospital on Feb. 28, 2004,
Goberville, a paramedic, heard screaming coming from the emergency
room. He saw a female patient, who had been previously restrained,
out of her restraints. The patient was holding her aunt in a
headlock with a knife to her throat. Goberville was able to get
behind the patient without being noticed. He got the knife away from
the woman and contained her until security arrived shortly
thereafter. Goberville suffered minor abrasions and scratches as a
result of the incident.
Donna J. Kraay, private citizen,
Schaumburg -- On the morning of June 5, 2004, Kraay was traveling
with her husband when they discovered a traffic accident on
Interstate 90 westbound. The car had rolled three times prior to
coming to rest on its side on the median. The young driver was
trapped in the vehicle. Mrs. Kraay, a registered nurse, crawled
partially inside the car to provide aid and comfort to the
frightened victim. She continued to care for the driver until the
ambulance crew arrived and extricated the victim from the car.
Roberta Shanahan, Chicago Fire
Department; Jorge Lara, Chicago Fire Department -- Paramedics
Shanahan and Lara responded to a Chicago Transit Authority train
station for an unconscious patient on Jan. 16, 2004. A bystander
told them the patient seemed to have fainted and was now lying on
the train tracks. A CTA employee alerted the paramedics that a train
was coming but could not reach the CTA dispatch center because his
radio was not working. Shanahan and Lara used their radios to
request power be shut down in both directions of the train tracks.
However, they could see a train approaching, and it was clear the
power shutdown response would take too long and the patient would be
hit by the train. Without regard for their own personal safety, the
paramedics climbed down onto the tracks and lifted the patient up
onto the platform just seconds before the approaching train passed
Kevin Mangerich, Chicago Police
Department; Michael Jolliff-Blake, Chicago Police Department; Joseph
Roman, Chicago Police Department
Gregory Klimaszewski, Chicago Police Department -- On May 28, 2004,
while on patrol, four police officers observed smoke coming from the
basement of an apartment building. They heard a woman scream for
help. An iron fence surrounding the back of the building made entry
difficult. The officers noticed a woman standing in the doorway of
one of the apartments, but she was locked in by the padlocked iron
gate. A nearby resident provided the officers with a sledgehammer to
break the lock and rescue the woman. Despite a smoke-filled
building, the officers went back into the apartment to check for
more victims and cleared the rest of the three-story apartment
building. There were no injuries in the incident.
Matthew T. Bozdech, private citizen,
Effingham -- On April 17, 2004, two semitrailer rigs were involved
in a crash on Interstate 70 westbound. Both semitrailers and one
tractor ignited and burst into flames. Bozdech was driving by and
stopped to help. He pulled the driver from the burning tractor. The
tractor and semitrailer were completely destroyed by the fire.
Kenny R. Martin, Fulton County
Emergency Medical Association; Richard A. Springer, Fulton County
Emergency Medical Association -- After arriving on the scene of a
single-vehicle rollover accident on June 10, 2004, Springer, a
paramedic, and Martin, an EMT, heard a victim, who was trapped in an
overturned vehicle in a creek, calling her sister's name. Springer
and Martin instantly went into the creek, which was 10 to 30 feet
below the roadway and had swelled considerably from recent heavy
rains. Martin began the extrication process of the victim, and
Springer began the search for the sister she was calling out to.
After several minutes of searching the creek, Martin and Springer
realized the victim was delirious and her sister was never involved
in the accident. They freed the victim and began treatment.
Graham Dewsbury, private citizen,
Carbondale; Nick Buening, private citizen, Carbondale -- On Sept.
27, 2004, Dewsbury and Buening were at home when they heard a loud
crash. The two Southern Illinois University students went outside
and saw that there had been a single-vehicle accident. The driver
had lost control of the vehicle and hit an embankment. The passenger
was lying on the pavement bleeding from a laceration to his forearm.
The students called 911 and did their best to control the bleeding
until paramedics arrived.
Gregory Walker, Alton Fire
Department -- On March 12, 2004, a 64-year-old woman was attending a
funeral when she collapsed. Walker, an off-duty Alton firefighter,
immediately started CPR and continued the lifesaving procedure until
paramedics arrived. The patient was hospitalized and in intensive
care for six days.
[to top of second column in this article]
Phil Edmondson, Sturgis, Ky., fire
chief, CPR trainer for Southern Illinois employees -- Edmondson is
being recognized not only for many heroic acts like the one
described below, but also for his extensive work as an educator,
training southern Illinois workers how to perform CPR.
While Edmondson was on duty at the
Sturgis Fire Department in Kentucky on March 12, 2004, a frantic
mother came to the firehouse holding her 21-month-old daughter, who
appeared lifeless and was not breathing. Edmondson started
performing CPR while another officer called an ambulance. After some
tense moments for the officers, the little girl took two breaths but
stopped breathing again. Edmondson did not give up and restarted
CPR. Eventually the girl started to move and breathe on her own. She
was transferred to a local hospital and kept overnight for
Robert Wiman, EMT, Black Beauty
Coal, Harrisburg -- Wiman had just returned home on June 15, 2004,
and was sitting at his kitchen table. As he was talking on the
phone, a girl from across the street came running up onto his front
porch, screaming for help. She said that a small child had fallen
into the swimming pool next door and was not breathing. Wiman told
her to call 911 and ran to the home, where a mother had pulled her
6-year-old daughter from the pool. Wiman began CPR and the girl
coughed up water, but Wiman still could not find a pulse and the
girl was not breathing on her own. Wiman continued CPR, the girl
coughed again and began to cry. The paramedics arrived shortly
thereafter and transported the girl to the hospital for observation.
Lt. Col. Craig S. Allen,
Springfield; Laurie Allen, Springfield -- On July 6, 2004, Lt. Col.
Craig Allen and his wife, Laurie, were traveling in Wyoming on a
family vacation when they came upon a fatal accident. The driver of
an SUV tried to pass a truck on a two-lane road and collided head-on
with a small motor home pulling a trailer. The driver of the motor
home was alive, secured in his seat belt but pinned in the vehicle.
The impact of the crash had killed the passenger and forced her
under the dash and partly across the driver, pinning him to the
door. The propane tank on the motor home was leaking, and the gas
tank was ruptured, causing fuel and oil to flow under the
compartment where the driver was pinned. A passing truck driver
located a pry bar in his truck, and Lt. Col. Allen began working to
free the driver. Laurie Allen, a nurse, treated the driver of the
SUV for shock. Rescuers arrived and had to pry the door open without
creating sparks, because of leaking propane from the motor home. It
took almost an hour to safely remove the passenger from the motor
Derek Guernsey, Sangamon County
Sheriff's Department -- Deputy Guernsey and another officer were
responding to a disturbance call in Jerome on July 20, 2004. The
house was on fire upon their arrival. Guernsey went into the
smoke-filled house, noticed an arm sticking out and dragged a female
from the residence. The victim said her mother was still inside.
Guernsey was able to locate the mother lying on top of the stairs
and carried her from the residence. Both women were transported to
area hospitals, where the mother later died from her injuries.
Harold Bly, private citizen, Curran
-- On March 17, 2005, Bly, 72, of Curran was told by a tow truck
driver that a woman and a baby were in a pickup truck that was stuck
on a set of railroad tracks. He noticed a train was coming and that
the mother was attempting to remove the baby from the car seat but
did not realize that the train was approaching. Bly got the woman
from the truck and removed the baby from the car seat. He was able
to pull them to safety just as the train hit the truck.
Robert Orr, assistant chief,
security, Secretary of State Police; Ron Watkins, security officer;
Allen Yee, Secretary of State Police employee -- At approximately 2
p.m. on Nov. 24, 2004, a loud noise was heard in the Howlett
Building at the Capitol Complex when a 6-foot-by-60-foot section of
the roof collapsed. Heavy dust and running water covered the room,
as well as ceiling debris and destroyed office equipment. Orr,
Watkins and Yee responded and began search and rescue operations.
Victims were moved to a nearby room for medical assistance. Once
emergency crews arrived, fire personnel evacuated the building.
Matthew Hendricks, private citizen,
Littleton -- Hendricks, 17, was getting ready for school on March
23, 2004, when he called 911 from his rural home outside of
Littleton. He was unable to get his mother and grandparents to wake
up and he was having trouble breathing. Rescue personnel arrived and
were able to get Matthew, his mother and grandparents out of the
house. The furnace had malfunctioned and filled the house with
carbon monoxide. The family was taken to the hospital and later
William A. Kearney, Illinois State
Police -- On Aug. 7, 2004, Trooper Kearney was sitting in his squad
car issuing a warning to a speeding violator when a severe traffic
accident occurred about 100 feet from him on U.S. 20 in Stephenson
County. He called for assistance and rushed to the motorcyclist. The
individual's leg had been partially severed and was bleeding
heavily. Kearney applied gauze and direct pressure to the wound in
an attempt to stop the bleeding. He then applied a tourniquet to
stop the bleeding until the EMTs arrived. Kearney was recognized for
his efforts and received an award from an emergency response
helicopter crew for saving the life of the driver.
[News release from the governor's