given in connection with Emergency Medical Services Week
[MAY 19, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- On
Thursday, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and Illinois Department of Public
Health Director Dr. Eric E. Whitaker awarded 21 people from around
the state for their heroic acts of courage. The recognition was part
of the department's 19th annual Emergency Medical Services Awards.
The governor proclaimed May 14-20 Emergency Medical Services Week as
an opportunity to highlight the heroic acts performed during an
"These people quickly and
selflessly responded when they saw someone in trouble," Blagojevich
said. "These police officers, firefighters, paramedics and medical
services workers really are heroes for what they do each and every
day, and they deserve our thanks and recognition."
police, paramedics and others throughout the state send their
nominations to the Department of Public Health for consideration.
"This year's awards all honor Illinois citizens for their
selfless and heroic efforts," Whitaker said. "These residents 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."
These heroes will receive certificates signed by Whitaker. This
year's recipients include individuals who showed courage in the
following emergency situations:
On Dec. 18, 2005, after spotting an overturned vehicle off the
roadway, Greg Taylor called 911 and went to the aid of the
driver, who was trapped upside down in the vehicle. While Taylor
was instructed by the 911 dispatcher not to move the victim
because of a possible neck injury, he realized that the engine
had ignited. Since the fire posed a great threat, the
dispatchers told him to try to get the victim out. Taylor was
able to push the vehicle onto its side, and the victim was able
to crawl out the window.
John and Lynda
Chris Guest, Urbana
Tony Onyango, Urbana
Robert Cox, Urbana
On Oct. 24, 2005, neighbors on a cul-de-sac rushed to the aid of
three teenagers trapped in a burning vehicle. After hearing the
crash, John Minor ran into the front yard and yelled out to his
wife to call 911. After doing so, Lynda Minor ran out of the
house to find one of the boys on fire, yelled for him to "stop,
drop and roll," and then used an oven mitt to extinguish the
flames. Chris Guest, a medical and doctoral student at the
University of Illinois, brought wet towels from his home and ran
toward the burning van, where he found one of the boys on the
ground with what appeared to be a broken pelvis and broken leg.
Tony Onyango and Robert Cox tried to pull the driver out of the
burning van, but he was trapped by his seat belt. Guest was able
to cut the seat belt with his pocketknife and the driver was
pulled to safety, just seconds before the gas tank exploded.
Curtis Nichelson, Girard
On March 29, 2006, William Hart and Curtis Nichelson rescued
boater Glenn Brown. Brown had lost his footing and fell in
near-freezing water on an Illinois lake. He was hanging on to
his boat and crying out for help. Hart heard him, tied a rope
around his waist and swam out to help. Nichelson, aided by
unidentified individuals who were working in the area, pulled
the boat, along with Brown and Hart, to shore.
On May 18, 2005, Mike Tadlock helped avert a major traffic
accident on a busy interstate. Tadlock saw a semi swerving very
slowly ahead of him on the interstate and attempted to contact
the driver of the semi via radio but did not receive a response.
Tadlock then noticed that the semi began to ease toward the
shoulder but continued to weave onto the roadway. He parked his
truck and was able to climb onto
the fuel tank of the
slow-moving semi, where he discovered the driver unconscious
with his foot still on the clutch. At that moment, the driver
fell into the passenger seat, his foot came off the clutch, and
the semi started to speed up and veer toward the shoulder of the
road. While the semi was still in motion, Tadlock pulled himself
through the window and stopped the vehicle. He then pulled the
driver from the truck and prepared to administer CPR, when the
driver regained consciousness.
School football team: Travis Arnold, Jarren Baker, Nathan Berry,
Marcus Currie, Thomas Erlinger, Tyler McAbee, Travis Patten ,
Kyle Pender, Marquise Shackelford, Lucas Waters, Darren Whitelow
On April 22, 2006, while performing community service on a
Saturday afternoon, members of the Centralia High School
football team heard a cry for help. They rushed to the aid of a
man who was trapped underneath a pickup truck that had fallen
off a hydraulic lift while he was doing repair work. The boys
lifted the pickup truck off the man and held it until rescue
personnel arrived. The doctor who treated him indicated that if
it were not for the quick thinking of the football team, the man
would have died within minutes.
On Dec. 21, 2005, Joe Smart arrived home to find his neighbors'
garage engulfed in flames. He banged on the door to the house,
and when no one answered, he kicked the door down, woke up the
four occupants and alerted them to the fire. All escaped
unharmed, including the family's two small dogs. It took nine
fire engines, 30 firefighters and approximately 20,000 gallons
of water to extinguish the fire.