"Emergency workers put their lives on the line every day and deserve
our recognition," the governor said. "That's what these awards are
all about -- saying thank you to men and women who selflessly
respond to help people who need it."
"Many of the awards stem from selfless acts of courage," said Dr.
Whitaker, state public health director. "These residents or
emergency personnel 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."
Firefighters, police, paramedics and others throughout the state
send their nominations to the Illinois Department of Public Health
annually for consideration. The recipients this year include
individuals who showed courage in the following emergency
Fire Protection District, Mount Pulaski
Lincoln Fire Department, Lincoln
On July 13, 2006, Mount Pulaski Fire Protection District and the
Lincoln Fire Department responded to a call at a corn silo where
a man had fallen in and was trapped in corn. He continued to
sink in the corn all the way up to his chin while the rescue
personnel attempted to get him out. They were eventually able to
secure a harness around the man and drain corn from the silo.
After several hours, rescue workers were able to pull him to
safety through a door on the side of the silo. Also responding
to the call were fire and police departments from Lincoln,
Decatur, Chestnut, Kenney, Macon and Logan counties.
survives fall into grain at Chestnut)
On Oct. 10, 2006, a Jeep drove off a ramp and rolled onto the
street below, trapping the driver and a passenger. Anthony Bruno
was driving down the street at the same time and saw the Jeep
falling from the ramp above. The Jeep landed upside down in
front of Bruno's truck. Bruno rushed to the Jeep and used his
hunting knife to free the men from their seat belts as the
vehicle started to catch fire. He then dragged the two men away
from the vehicle as it became engulfed in flames.
On March 2, 2007, Jason Scholebo rescued an elderly woman after
witnessing the woman's car run off the road and into the
overflow waters of Rend Lake, coming to rest tightly among the
trees. He immediately pulled over and waded into the cold water,
not knowing how deep it was, as the water quickly surrounded the
vehicle. He broke through the trees and was able to get to the
back seat of the vehicle and pulled the woman over the front
seat and out of the vehicle.
Robert L. Nichols, Wilmington
On Jan. 21, 2007, Bears fans John Domina and Bob Nichols were
tailgating after the Bears win over the Saints, when they heard
screams. They ran over to a crowd of people and saw two men who
had fallen over the edge and broke through the ice on Lake
Michigan. There were no ladders for the two to exit the lake.
Domina and Nichols grabbed a table out of the back of their
truck, unfolded the legs and lowered the table to the first
victim, who grabbed the lower set of table legs. Domina and
Nichols struggled on the edge to keep from falling in, and
bystanders helped steady them while they pulled the victim up.
The second victim had been in the frigid water for about 10
minutes and was struggling. He was ultimately able to pull
himself onto the table, and the group pulled him up and out of
Eskridge, El Paso
On May 3, 2006, Melissa Taylor Eskridge was driving her mother
home after having surgery when they came upon a vehicle at the
roadside. A man in the car was in full cardiac arrest. With the
help of bystanders, Eskridge started cardiopulmonary
resuscitation while her mother called 911.
James Heffernan, Springfield
On Dec. 17, 2006, brothers William and James Heffernan came to
the aid of a choking 81-year-old woman at a local restaurant.
William performed the Heimlich maneuver several times and was
unsuccessful in dislodging the food. The woman fainted from lack
of oxygen, and when the brothers could not feel her pulse, James
began performing CPR. James was starting a third round of
compressions when the woman opened her eyes. Local firefighters
arrived and administered oxygen, and paramedics took her to the
hospital, where she was later released.
[to top of second column]
On Oct. 5, 2006, neighbors noticed an unoccupied cabin was on
fire and called 911 to report the fire. One of the neighbors,
Cecil Herring, knew the owners of the home next to the cabin
were asleep inside. He attempted to alert them of the fire. By
the time the couple responded, the siding on their home was
melting, and the structure was about to start burning. Neighbors
fought the blaze with garden hoses until the fire department
arrived. Neighbors and the couple concluded that they would have
been overcome by smoke and flames if Herring had not awakened
and alerted them of the fire.
Nowotarski, Antioch Police Department
On April 8, 2007, while on routine patrol, Tom Nowotarski of the
Antioch Police Department responded to an "assist rescue" call.
Upon his arrival, he was directed upstairs to an elderly female,
who was experiencing chest pain. While speaking with the
patient, she collapsed in cardiac arrest. Nowotarski quickly
applied his automated external defibrillator and successfully
restored a life-sustaining heart rhythm. The woman was
transported to the hospital, where she recovered from the event
and was later discharged. Nowotarski was able to immediately
respond to the situation because he was prepared with his AED
upon entering the residence.
Greg Bock, EMT-paramedic, Alton
Karen Cronin, Godfrey
On June 17, 2006, a 77-year-old woman choked on some food at a
restaurant. When patrons heard screaming from across the
restaurant, three people rushed to her aid: Laura Bock, a
registered nurse; her husband, Greg Bock, who is a paramedic;
and another patron, Karen Cronin. Greg Bock performed the
Heimlich maneuver but was unsuccessful in dislodging the food.
The choking woman collapsed to the floor, and Laura Bock and
Cronin began CPR, as the woman had no pulse and had turned blue.
Laura Bock performed chest compressions while Cronin
administered rescue breathing, and they were able to resuscitate
The text of the governor's proclamation follows:
WHEREAS, emergency medical services
(EMS) embody the true concept of teamwork by recognizing the
interdependent relationship among trauma centers, EMS system
hospitals, ambulance providers, emergency and trauma physicians,
emergency nurses, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) -- basic,
coal miner, intermediate and paramedic -- field nurses, emergency
communication nurses, trauma nurse specialists, emergency
dispatchers and first responders who are dedicated to saving lives;
WHEREAS, in Illinois there are 62 EMS
resource hospitals, 64 trauma centers, 12,130 first responders,
21,512 basic EMTs, 1,265 intermediate EMTs, and 11,780 paramedic
EMTs, selflessly providing 24-hour service to the people of
WHEREAS, this year's national theme,
"EMS -- Extraordinary People, Extraordinary Service," underscores
the immediate nature of the situations to which EMS personnel must
WHEREAS, access to quality emergency
care dramatically improves the survival and recovery rate of those
who experience sudden illness or injury; and
WHEREAS, approximately two-thirds of
all emergency medical services providers are volunteers; and
WHEREAS, the members of emergency
medical services teams, whether career or volunteer, engage in
thousands of hours of specialized training and continuing education
to enhance their lifesaving skills:
THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich,
Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim May 20-26,
2007 as EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES WEEK in Illinois, and encourage
all citizens to recognize the dedication and lifesaving work that
the men and women of emergency medical services teams provide to the
communities of this state.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]