Friday, May 19

Chestnut man recognized in governor's awards for heroic deeds          Send a link to a friend

Awards 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 emergency.

"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."

Firefighters, 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:

  • Greg Taylor, Chestnut
    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 Minor, Urbana
    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.

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  • William Hart, Girard
    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.

  • Mike Tadlock, Mount Vernon
    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.

  • Centralia High 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.

  • Joe Smart, Creve Coeur
    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.

[Illinois Department of Public Health news release]

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