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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2004

Governor honors individuals for heroic acts
Part of Emergency Medical Services Week observance

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today joined the Illinois Department of Public Health in recognizing 22 Illinois citizens, including state Senate President Emil Jones, for acts of courage as part of the state’s 17th Annual Emergency Medical Services Awards.
 
In addition, a special Emergency Medical Services educator award is to be presented to Deb Niedermeier of the Rockford Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services System for her work in educating people about the consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol.
 
The honorees are to receive certificates, signed by the Governor and Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, as part of the Department’s observance of Emergency Medical Services Week (May 16-22).  The special week provides an opportunity for communities and organizations to honor the thousands of individuals in the state who are involved in providing emergency medical services.
 
“These heroes acted swiftly and selflessly in offering assistance and compassion to persons faced with life-threatening situations, often without regard to their own personal safety,” Blagojevich said.  “Some of the recipients are trained emergency personnel – firefighters, paramedics and police officers – who went above and beyond the call of duty.  Others are private citizens who simply wanted to help.”
 
Jones, D-Chicago, was recognized for coming to the aid of a woman who was choking on her food while dining at a Springfield restaurant.  The senator quickly assessed the situation, put his arms around the woman and performed the Heimlich maneuver, which cleared the blockage in her throat. 
 
Nominations for the annual awards were solicited by the Department from police, firefighters, paramedics and others from throughout the state.
 
“These brave individuals responded, often at the risk of their own safety, to help their fellow man,” Dr. Whitaker said.  “Their courage and compassion can serve as an inspiration to us all. ”
 
The Governor also proclaimed May 16-22 as Emergency Medical Services Week to commend the dedication to duty shown by the paramedics, hospital physicians and staff, firefighters and police officers who are involved in emergency medical services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
 
“It takes an exceptional person to choose a career in emergency medical services for these men and women know their lives and the lives of others may be at risk whenever an alarm sounds,” Blagojevich said.  “It is a comfort to know these dedicated individuals are on duty every day and are prepared to assist Illinois citizens and visitors to our state.”
 
Niedermeier, a licensed Emergency Medical Technician, developed a drunk driving community education program and has been giving presentations to high school students and at community events for the past 10 years in Jo Daviess, Stephenson and Winnebago counties.  Niedermeier, the mother of three children, began speaking out about driving under the influence after her husband and mother-in-law were killed by a drunk driver.
 
The following is a list of honorees and brief descriptions of their deeds. (Names in bold represent the underlined county)
Adams County
· David Ludwig, Quincy Police Department
 
David Ludwig, a Quincy police officer trained in the use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED), responded to a local manufacturing company on Jan.19, 2004 where a person had collapsed and was unresponsive.  When he arrived, two coworkers of the 61-year-old victim were administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but the victim was not breathing and did not have a pulse.  Ludwig used the AED unit to reestablish the man’s heartbeat.
 
Bureau County
· Neil Heston, private citizen, Mineral
· David Clark, private citizen, Tampico
· Robert Mattingly, private citizen, Deer Grove
 
David Clark, Neil Heston and Robert Mattingly were on a hunting trip Jan. 11, 2004 when the party’s fourth member, a 72-year-old man, sitting in the front seat of his truck, was shot in the leg when his shotgun accidentally discharged.  The man’s right femur was shattered, causing a considerable loss of blood.  His three hunting partners applied a tourniquet and treated the man until a local emergency squad arrived. The victim’s leg had to be amputated. Emergency medical technicians credited the quick response by the three men with saving the victim’s life.
 
Christian County
· Erik Skundberg, Sutton Ambulance Service, Taylorville
· Jamie Kincaid, Springfield Fire and Rescue

On July 17, 2003, Springfield Fire Department Capt. Jamie Kincaid and his family were on their way home from a vacation and awaiting a flight to Springfield at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis.  He heard someone call for a doctor and found a middle-aged man who had gone into cardiac arrest.  Despite the fact that Kincaid had a leg injury and was on crutches, he rushed to the man and started CDR. Paramedic Erik Skundberg, who also was awaiting a flight, assisted Kincaid.  A bystander located an AED and brought it to Kincaid.  The victim was awake when members of the St. Louis Fire Department arrived, and has made a full recovery.
 
Cook County
· State Senate President Emil Jones, Chicago
 
Emil Jones, president of the Illinois Senate, was eating dinner at a Springfield restaurant when he noticed a woman at a nearby table choking and pointing at her throat. Quickly assessing the situation, Jones put his arms around the woman and performed the Heimlich maneuver, which cleared the blockage in her throat.
 
DeWitt County
· Timothy H.S. Collins, DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office
· Tyrel J. Klein, DeWitt County Corrections
· Bruce A. Randolph, DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office
 
On the evening of Sept. 2, 2003, Sgt. Timothy H.S. Collins and Deputy Bruce A. Randolph were dispatched to a local lake to investigate the report of an occupied vehicle in the water.  The officers found three children trapped in the submerged vehicle and both dove into the water and were able to pull two of the victims from the car.  Tyrel J. Klein, who had overheard the call on his scanner, also responded and assisted with the rescue efforts. The third child was recovered by a paramedic.  All three children died.
 
DuPage County
· Pamela Russell, private citizen, Naperville
 
On Oct. 6, 2003, Pamela Russell was on her way to a doctor’s office when she saw a minivan jump a curb and plunge into a retention pond.  After her daughter waded into the pond and reported the driver was unconscious, Russell told her son to call 911 and she waded out to the van.  As the minivan filled with water, the driver regained consciousness.  When Russell tried to help her, she discovered the woman’s legs were stuck.  Russell freed the woman’s legs and pulled her from the minivan.  As she swam back toward shore with the woman, a Wheaton police officer met Russell and took the victim the rest of the way to shore. 
 
Henry County
· Ruth L. Hepner, private citizen, Galva
 
Ruth L. Hepner was visiting a friend in Rock Island on Oct. 14, 2003 when a pregnant woman who lived down the street rang the friend’s doorbell.  She was having contractions and was unable to find someone to help.  Hepner, who is a licensed practical nurse in Kewanee Hospital’s surgery department, did not have formal training in emergency childbirth, but she positioned the woman on the floor and examined her.  As they waited for the arrival of emergency personnel, Hepner calmly delivered the baby without any complications.
 
Macoupin County
· Brett Rose, private citizen, Bunker Hill
 
A snow day on Feb. 3, 2004 meant the three Rose brothers – Brett, 13, Austin, 10 and Cameron, 6 – got to stay home from school.  Austin and Cameron were playing with a dog leash when it caught on a kitchen cabinet.  Austin, who had the leash around his neck, jumped to free the leash, but fell causing the leash to tighten around his neck.  Cameron got Brett, who quickly lifted Austin and removed the leash.  He then began CPR, which he had learned at school the previous year.  Austin was breathing on his own when the Bunker Hill Fire Department arrived.
 
Sangamon County
· John Diefenback, Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department
 
On April 30, 2003, a motorist drove away from a Divernon truck stop without paying for gas.  Police pursued and the driver sped recklessly through a highway construction zone and parts of Springfield before heading east on Interstate 72.  After police called off the pursuit, Sangamon County Sheriff’s Deputy John Diefenback saw the motorist’s vehicle leave the road and crash into a median.  The truck burst into flames and the motorist emerged from the truck on fire.  Diefenback and two passing motorists put the fire out.  The deputy also used his fire extinguisher to put out a grass fire that had started. Diefenback and the injured motorist were transported to a nearby hospital and treated for burns.
 
· Jamie Kincaid, Springfield Fire and Rescue
· Erik Skundberg, Sutton Ambulance Service, Taylorville
 
On July 17, 2003, Springfield Fire Department Capt. Jamie Kincaid and his family were on their way home from a vacation and awaiting a flight to Springfield at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis.  He heard someone call for a doctor and found a middle-aged man who had gone into cardiac arrest.  Despite the fact that Kincaid had a leg injury and was on crutches, he rushed to the man and started CDR.  Paramedic Erik Skundberg, who also was awaiting a flight, assisted Kincaid.  A bystander located an AED and brought it to Kincaid.  The victim was awake when members of the St. Louis Fire Department arrived and has made a full recovery.
 
· Jeffery Hart, private citizen, Auburn
· Marsha Funneman, private citizen, Auburn
· Dewaine Hoagland, Auburn Police Department
 
On Sept. 20, 2003, a student teacher at Auburn Middle School was helping with seventh- and eighth-grade basketball practice when she decided to participate in a drills.  Following the drill, the young woman fell to the floor and stopped breathing.  Coach Jeffery Hart started CPR, while coach Marsha Funneman called 911 and ushered the players out of the gym.  The victim’s heart stopped several times before Auburn police officer Dewaine Hoagland arrived with an AED.  Hoagland shocked the victim and she began breathing shortly before paramedics arrived.  It was discovered that the young woman, a former high school and college athlete, had an undiagnosed and often fatal hereditary heart condition.
 
· Randy Grant, private citizen, Pleasant Plains
 
On July 24, 2003, a fire broke out at a Springfield wholesale plant.  A long-time employee, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and walks with a crutch, was finishing his lunch in a storage shed when the fire began.  When a coworker yelled that there was a fire, the man tried to hobble out of the building.  Another worker – Randy Grant – noticed the man was having trouble moving away from the fire.  Grant picked up the man and carried him to his car, which was parked nearby and another employee drove the car a safe distance from the fire.
 
Wayne County
· Alan Wurst Jr., private citizen, Wayne City
 
A 2003 Labor Day trip to visit relatives could have ended sadly had 11-year-old Alan Wurst Jr. not learned the Heimlich maneuver when he was a fourth-grader.  Alan and his family were preparing to leave their grandparents’ home in Norris City when two of the children started to scuffle in the family’s van.  When Alan went to quiet his brothers, he noticed that one of them was signaling that he had something caught in his throat. Alan got his brother out of the van and performed the Heimlich maneuver, which dislodged a penny he had swallowed.
 
Whiteside County
· David Clark, private citizen, Tampico
· Robert Mattingly, private citizen, Deer Grove
· Neil Heston, private citizen, Mineral
 
David Clark, Neil Heston and Robert Mattingly were on a hunting trip Jan. 11, 2004 when the party’s fourth member, a 72-year-old man, sitting in the front seat of his truck, was shot in the leg when his shotgun accidentally discharged.  The man’s right femur was shattered, causing a considerable loss of blood.  His three hunting partners applied a tourniquet and treated the man until a local emergency squad arrived. The victim’s leg had to be amputated. Emergency medical technicians credited the quick response by the three men with saving the victim’s life.
 
Will County
· Thomas Rutecki, private citizen, Lockport
 
Around mid-afternoon on March 3, 2004, a legally blind, 65-year-old Downers Grove woman was traveling to a local deli on a motorized four-wheel scooter when one of its wheels became caught in the railroad tracks.  Thomas Rutecki, who was nearby waiting for a train, tried to help the woman get the scooter off the tracks when the crossings’ warning lights came on.  Unable to move the scooter, Rutecki grabbed the woman and got her off the tracks seconds before a train hit the scooter.  The woman and Rutecki were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
 
Winnebago County
· Monica Fane, Rockford Memorial Hospital EMS System
· Anthony Quardraro, Rockford Memorial Hospital EMS System
 
On Feb. 25, 2004, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) Monica Fane and Anthony Quardraro responded to an obstetrical emergency.  Because delivery was imminent, the EMTs had to rapidly assess the woman’s condition and assist with a difficult birth. Afterwards the woman refused to allow herself and the infant to be transported to the hospital. Fane and Quardraro waited outside for a while before returning to the house to pick up a piece of equipment they had “left behind.”  By then, the woman realized her infant was having respiratory problems and agreed to have the child transported to the hospital.


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