Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2008
TWO police officers have been praised after they risked their lives and rescued an unconscious man from a burning home.
Constables Colin Leslie and Alex Collins, both based at Culloden police station, were responding to a 999 call when they attended the flat in Ardersier at 6.20pm on Sunday.
There had been reports of a disturbance and when the pair arrived at the High Street property they were faced with flames coming from the door.
They were aware a man was inside the building but attempts to talk him out to safety failed.
A spokeswoman for Northern Constabulary said while the fire brigade were on route to the scene the officers felt any delay in rescuing the man could have resulted in death and further damage to adjoining properties.
Attempts to force the door were made, and with the help of a neighbour, the two officers managed to break the locks and get inside the burning building. They were accompanied by a third police officer, Sergeant Ramsay Aitken.
They used fire extinguishers from the police vehicle to try and fight the flames and a high powered torch enabled them to see through the smoke-filled building.
They eventually found the man, who by this time was unconscious.
He was pulled to safety by the officers and was treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics outside before being taken to Raigmore Hospital.
It is understood a woman had also been in the house but escaped.
Constables Leslie and Collins were also treated by ambulance staff and had to go to hospital.
They were praised yesterday for their professional and selfless actions in fighting the fire and rescuing the man.
Chief Inspector Julian Innes said: “Their actions were both brave and commendable and a credit to Northern Constabulary.”
Fire crews from Inverness and Nairn later arrived on scene.
A spokesman for Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used two hose reel jets to tackle the fire, which caused damage to the hallway and other parts of the house.
Wednesday, Jun. 4, 2008
Described as a hero, Officer Jeremy Foote raced in a home with a room on fire Wednesday morning and helped bring two girls to safety, officials said.
Unattended candles sparked a blaze about 11:50 p.m. Tuesday at a home in the 2200 block of Southeast Carnation Road, which Foote noticed while on routine patrol, a police report states.
Foote “saw the fire and called it in and got some of the family members out of the house,” St. Lucie County Fire District spokeswoman Catherine Whitaker said.
“Foote was a hero because of his fast action,” Whitaker said. “He did a good deed.”
One bedroom of the single-story home appeared “fully engulfed,” and Foote went to the front door to see whether anyone was inside, a police report states.
That’s when Stanley Dossous, 24, ran out with a fire extinguisher. Dossous said his family remained inside, and Foote raced to the front door and came across 31-year-old Myrlende Guerrier, who said she and her two daughters, one 7 and the other 9, were inside.
The girls ran out of their bedroom and Foote escorted them outside before he and another officer tried to help Dossous contain the blaze.
The fire caused about $5,000 in damage to one room, Whitaker said.
Foote, 34, joined the police department in January 2007, said Officer Robert Vega, police spokesman.
An offer from the Fire District to the victims for Red Cross assistance was turned down, the police report states.
Monday, Apr. 7, 2008
The Westminster Police Department recently announced the recipients of annual awards honoring its best officers and staff.
The recipients, who were honored at a recent awards ceremony, are:
• Police Officer of the Year for 2007: Cpl. Scott Peter, for his self-initiated activity and numerous drug arrests. He also earned the Academic Excellence Award for completing training with a 99.7 percent grade-point average.
• Civilian of the Year: Brenda Roper, communications and records supervisor, for her progressive management and ability to implement changes.
• Volunteer of the Year: Simona Mason, a volunteer in the SCORE (Stopping Crime on Residential Environments) youth program, and who assists the Community Education Officers.
• Community Service Award: Cpl. Jesse Clagett, who established relationships with the Main Street community to address and resolve quality-of-life issues.
• Firearms Award: Detective Rick Lambert, for his firearms qualifications score of 99.5 percent.
• Chief’s Award: Linda Knott, for her contributions to the United Way campaign and the Shop with a Cop program.
Tuesday, Apr. 1, 2008
Police brass recently honored an Emergency Services detective who saved the life of a 3-year-old girl in Queens in February.
Detective Michael Cook talked to an emotionally disturbed man who held his daughter hostage for more than seven hours after barricading himself in his Queensbridge apartment.
Cook, a 12-year department veteran, gradually earned the trust of the father and secured the release of the child.
“NYPD Emergency Service officers respond to tens of thousands of cases involving emotionally disturbed individuals every year,” Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement.
“The fact that the vast majority of them are resolved without injury to the distraught person is due to the exceptional police work exemplified by Detective Cook in this situation,” Kelly said.
“He and his colleagues are to be commended for a job well-done, which often goes unrecognized.”
The certificate presented to Detective Cook reads:
“On February 22, 2008, Detective Michael Cook, assigned to ESU No. 8, was part of a team that responded to a barricaded, emotionally disturbed male holding a three-year-old girl.
“For seven hours Detective Cook continued talking and eventually won the trust of the barricaded male. After talking with the E.D.P., and continuing to gain his trust, the E.D.P. finally surrendered. Detective Cook’s ‘never give up’ attitude was in keeping with the finest traditions of the Emergency Service Unit.”
Monday, Feb. 25, 2008
A number of Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Department deputies will be recognized in April for acts ranging from saving residents from a fire to solving ongoing cases to organizing charity events.
In all, 15 deputies – all of whom were awarded deputy of the month during 2007 – will be honored at the next Vanderburgh County Deputies’ Organization meeting.
The deputies of the month from 2007 who are being honored are as follows:
• January – Aaron Hunter, Rob Clark and Chad Howard – Evacuated two residents from a residential fire.
• February – Tom Wedding – Tracked, monitored and arrested numerous sex offenders while maintaining the sex offender registry/Web site.
• March – Toby Wolfe and Matt Weiss – Solved an auto theft case and later assisted an Evansville Police Officer arrest the suspect, who was fighting the police officer and trying to take his gun.
• April – Rob Clark – Pursued a suspect on foot and later recovered 1.25 pounds of cocaine from him.
• May – Nathan Sugarman and Jeff South – Evacuated residents from a residential fire.
• June – Joe Beckwith – Arrested a three-time burglary suspect and out-of-state parolee after identifying the suspect as he pumped gas at a filling station.
• July – Raymond Reason – Conducted a traffic stop that yielded 20 pounds of marijuana
• August – Mike Robinson – Climbed in an overturned glass-filled vehicle to assist the driver and passenger and prevent life threatening injuries at a traffic accident.
• September – Kelly Williams – Recognized for his off-duty work in organizing the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.
• October – Stuart Mosby – Thoroughly investigated a stolen vehicle/hit and run/false informing case.
• November – Rob Lutz – Assisted during a residential blaze to prevent the spread of the fire and the complete destruction of the home.
• December – James Martin – Recognized for organizing the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office Shop With a Cop event.
An exact date for the April meeting has not yet been set.
Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008
At the front of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in North Little Rock, the single mothers and their children lined up with their carts.
As part of the Shop With A Cop program, each family would be matched with a North Little Rock police officer for a morning of Christmas shopping. The police would pick up the tab — $ 150 for each child.
Officer Tommy Norman, the program’s organizer, offered a word of caution.
“If a police officer asks you to buy him doughnuts, don’t do it,” he said, tongue planted firmly in cheek.
Over the next two hours, a dozen children filled their shopping carts with clothes and toys. Next weekend, 10 more children will get their turn.
Norman said he and his fellow officers had been looking forward to the trip.
“I woke up at 3 o’clock this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep, I was so excited — and I’m not even shopping,” Norman said.
This is the second year for the program, which Norman started after reading about a similar initiative in Champaign, Ill. The families of single, working mothers are eligible. Some were nominated by friends or co-workers. Others went to the Police Department asking for help.
The money for the gifts was from private donations, including $ 1, 200 from a penny drive at Immaculate Conception Catholic School in North Little Rock. Members of the student government group showed up Sunday, helping load the families’ shopping carts and wrapping the gifts after they checked out.
Other money came from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., First United Methodist Church of North Little Rock, Coulson Oil Co., the Argenta Men’s Club and the Arkansas National Guard recruiting office.
Eight police officers showed up in uniform but off-duty, volunteering their time.
“This is just a way for the North Little Rock Police Department to show the children of North Little Rock that we care about them and we’re their friends,” Norman said.
Davina Kelley, a 25-year-old market research company worker, was prepared. She had taken her two children, Aayana, 5, and Amare, 4, to the store a few days earlier and made a list of gifts, making sure the prices added up to $ 150.
But as Aayana and Amare wandered the aisles Sunday, Kelley quickly gave up on the list.
“They just basically went on what they wanted,” she said.
Amare loaded up on Spider-Man toys. For Aayana, it was Bratz. She also found a My Little Pony doll that talks and wiggles when its hoof is pressed.
“She’s going to carry that everywhere, I think,” Kelley said.
Juseria Lovelace, 10, picked out a digital music player, some clothes and Pete the Repeat Parrot, that repeats whatever he hears.
Friday, Dec. 14, 2007
Const. Jessie Poonian put his life in peril by rescuing a 10-year-old girl sleeping on a couch in a burning home in the $20-million MacEwan neighbourhood fire in July.
The city cop then forced his way into 11 other houses to make sure there were no occupants in danger of succumbing to the blaze that levelled almost a city block.
Poonian, 25, and 14 other cops were recognized in a ceremony yesterday at Edmonton Police Service headquarters by Chief Mike Boyd and police commission chairman Brian Gibson.
“To this day, I still remember the face of that girl,” Poonian told reporters after receiving a plaque of recognition.
Within eight minutes after he rescued the girl, the house was fully engulfed in flames.
Poonian was patrolling the area of MacEwan Road and McAlllister Loop when he heard what sounded like an explosion.
He then noticed black smoke emerging from a large condominium complex that was under construction.
“If there was any other member (in the area) instead of me, I’m sure he would have done the same thing,” he said.
“When you see something is wrong, you just jump into that situation and go for it.”
Det. Scott McMorran, 45, also received a bravery award, his third commendation in his 26 years of service with the EPS.
McMorran rescued a 70-year-old male driver and a 69-year-old female passenger from a fiery crash on Stony Plain Road.
“I appreciate very much being recognized by my co-workers,” McMorran said.
Cops, who exhibited either bravery or exceptional investigation in the past two years – including those who worked on the Liana White murder case and those who cracked an international child porn ring – were honoured.
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007
AN off-duty police officer tackled an axe-wielding man in Palmyra yesterday morning.
The officer, Travis Petersen, 29, who was visiting from Carnarvon, was waiting for his father in the car park of a Canning Highway medical practice about 11.20am when he spotted the man acting suspiciously.
Police said the man approached a 45-year-old man as he parked his car, threatened him with a long handled axe and demanded his vehicle.
Constable Petersen tackled the man, forced him to the ground and held him until members of the public could help.
The officer’s 65-year-old father, who was receiving medical attention in the clinic and recently had an operation, also helped and was scratched and bruised in the tussle.
The alleged offender was arrested by other officers and charged over an armed robbery at the Leopold Hotel an hour earlier in which staff at the drive-through bottle shop were threatened with a baseball bat.
Officers attending the scene praised the off-duty officer’s “selfless and brave efforts, together with his quick thinking”.
A 36-year-old Murdoch man was charged with armed robbery, assault with intent to rob, and common assault. He appeared in Fremantle Magistrates Court today and was detained in custody
Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2007
Giovanni Di Legge, a 15-year veteran of the Canadian police force and currently working as a police officer in Montreal, was enjoying a good time with his family on the beaches of Maine when cries of distress pierced the air.
When he looked out to sea he saw Kristen McCarthy, a 31-year-old nursing student from Marlborough, Mass., and a 12 year old girl apparently caught in a powerful riptide.
“I had to help them out…”
De Legge realized the danger of the situation even before any of the lifeguards did and responded immediately. Swimming out he first grabbed the 12 year old girl and struggled back close enough to shore to hand her over to two lifeguards who by then had appeared.
Fighting back into the riptide he went back for Kirsten.
“I grabbed her under the arm and started swimming parallel to the beach at an angle. It was really hard.”
After her rescue McCarthy and her partner, Richard Philben, 50, contacted a newspaper to make known the heroic actions of the Canadian cop.
“I got pulled under, opened my eyes and it was so murky. It was surreal. I came up and saw a beautiful blue sky – but I knew If I got pulled down again, I was dead. I was exhausted at that point.
I don’t know if it was his cop training or not but John (Giovanni) realized the situation before anyone else. Even the lifeguards didn’t realize at that point. He’s a hero.”
They said they plan on recommending Di Legge to the governor of Maine for an award that would recognize his bravery.
Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007
Annapolis’s annual 4th of July parade got off to a scary start Wednesday when an elderly couple collapsed with life-threatening health problems.
Fortunately, thanks to a nearby police officer, some good Samaritans, and some quick thinking, everything turned out well.
Homer and Lillian Hack were waiting for the parade to start, when the 78-year-old Mr. Hack began exhibiting symptoms of a stroke. Officer Pierre Pyle was alerted to the problem and radioed for an ambulance.
While they waited for the ambulance, Mrs. Hack also collapsed from an apparent heart attack. Pyle called for a second ambulance and began administering CPR with the help of a citizen from the crowd.
As luck would have it, there were firefighters, paramedics, and ambulances lined up for the parade a few blocks away. They arrived to help in just minutes.
The Hacks are in stable condition in the hospital. Officer Pyle even paid them a visit and they thanked him in person.
Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007
It took nearly six years, but three Division of Wildlife Resources officers who risked their own lives to save two others have been honored for their service.
Verl Hanchett, of Hyrum, Kevan Penrose of Smithfield, and Rick Schulze of Mantua, were honored last week for saving two men on Bear Lake in January 2002.
While checking the licenses of fishermen on Bear Lake, a small aluminum boat sank into frigid waters.
The officers then pulled the men out of the water, risking tipping over their own boat. The officers’ boat was overloaded the entire way back to shore.
Division of Wildlife Resource spokesman Mark Hadley says the men weren’t honored until this year because there was no award they could be given. This year, one was created for them.
Friday, Aug. 10, 2007
A Massachusetts state trooper from Shutesbury is being heralded for quick thinking and heroic actions on the Connecticut River last summer.
Trooper Scott Sawicki was awarded the Massachusetts State Police Medal of Lifesaving last week in a ceremony at the State Police Headquarters in Framingham.
On July 4, 2006, Sawicki and other members of the state police underwater recovery team and state Environmental Police were assigned as safety divers along the Connecticut River, according to a press release issued by the state police.
During the grand finale of the holiday fireworks display, Sawicki and members of his team heard cries for help.
Sawicki saw a man in the water about 100 feet away. He got to the victim and helped him into the boat. That’s when the man said his wife was still in the water. Officers scanned the area and saw a second person in the water another 60 feet away. Sawicki reached her and pulled her from the water as well.
The two were uninjured and refused medical treatment at the scene, according to the release. Sawicki is an alumnus of Amherst Regional High School and earned a bachelor of science degree from Western New England College.
Monday, Jul. 2, 2007
Paul Deppi started helping kids with an eye toward becoming a cop.
More than 15 years ago, when Deppi told Newtown Township police Chief Martin Duffy he wanted to become a police officer, he was advised to get involved with the community first.
In the 14 years since he declared his career choice, Deppi’s community has been some 350-plus kids in the Lower Bucks Lacrosse League. And the Newtown Township resident is a cop in his hometown, on the beat since 1998.
For his “extraordinary work and influence in the lives” of his players, Deppi, 35, was one of 13 hailed as “Real Heroes” by the Lower Bucks chapter of the American Red Cross at a breakfast last week.
Deppi, a coach and former president of the lacrosse league, said he took Duffy’s advice and combined it with something he knew — lacrosse. But, according to Deppi, the sport shouldn’t be at the top of the players’ list.
“I tell them there’s three things that come before lacrosse: family, faith and education,” Deppi said.
And it’s not just talk. Deppi tells his kids to pick attending family birthdays and funerals over practice or games if there’s a conflict. And Deppi, a Lutheran, encourages his players to attend CCD, Bible or Hebrew classes, depending upon their faith. He said he’s been to several of his players’ bar mitzvahs, including an Orthodox celebration that featured a lacrosse theme.
And if one of his kids is having trouble in school, the player might find himself doing homework during practice. Deppi said he’s even sat down on the tailgate of his pickup after practice to talk to the kids about school or family problems.
“It’s what my parents taught me: family, faith and school,” Deppi said. “I want my players to be good, gentlemen, scholar athletes. If they leave and never play lacrosse again, that’s fine. I just want them to be a better person [for having participated].”
He said when his parents learned he planned to coach, they advised him to take the best of the coaches he liked and avoid the worst of the coaches he didn’t like.
Deppi said all his players participate in games and he uses lacrosse to provide them with life lessons, about self respect, self discipline and self motivation.
His first contact with a majority of the kids is with lacrosse, he said. But it’s not always the case.
About six summers ago, Deppi said, he got involved in the case of a sixth-grader who’d sent a derogatory e-mail to a classmate. The boy had just moved into the area, didn’t have a father figure, had no friends and Deppi said he needed guidance more than punishment. The boy went before the local Youth Aid Panel and was given community service work. But Deppi also directed him to meet up with some of his other lacrosse players and make friends when school started. Deppi also helped the Youth Aid Panel buy the kid lacrosse equipment and sign up for the Lower Bucks league.
In a few months that kid will be headed to college, Deppi said.
He said he just loves working with kids, teaching a game he loves. On a permanent midnight cop shift, Deppi said sometimes he gets home from work in the morning and can’t wait to get on the cleats, grab a clipboard and coach.
Friday, May. 25, 2007
Heroism happens every day. We see examples of it on the news, from our soldiers overseas who commit acts of inspirational bravery. We owe them a debt of immeasurable gratitude.
But we also cannot forget that here at home thousands of brave men and women place themselves in harm’s way for the safety of our nation. This week especially, as we commemorate National Police Week, we pay tribute to the sacrifices that our domestic soldiers in federal, state and local law enforcement make to protect communities from crime and terrorism.
Officers on the front lines live by the credo “to protect and serve.” Unfortunately, this duty can involve a family making the ultimate sacrifice. Each year, between 140 and 160 officers are killed in the line of duty. Nearly one officer is lost every two days. Each had a personal story, a family in grief and a life deserving of honor.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation declaring that police officers “by their patriotic service and their dedicated efforts have earned the gratitude of the Republic,” and designated the week of May 15 as National Police Week. Since then, Police Week has been a time when thousands gather in communities to honor the sacrifices of law enforcement officers. Moreover, they are displays of solidarity among survivors.
This year, the names of 145 officers who gave their lives in service in 2006 will be inscribed at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial in Washington, D.C. Fortunately, no Delawareans are on this list, but we have not always been so blessed. For families of law officers throughout the nation, the fear of a loved one not returning from a day’s work is part of everyday life.
This week we thank police officers, we remember those who paid the ultimate price while serving communities, and we give comfort to the loved ones they have left behind.
Wednesday, May. 16, 2007
A Dunedin police officer who has been honoured for rescuing a ten-year-old boy from a burning motel unit says he is humbled by the recognition.
Inspector Alistair Dickie has been presented with the Sir Charles Upham Award and the Royal Humane Society’s Silver Medal by the Governor General.
He was off-duty and staying at a Christchurch camping ground when a neighbouring family’s unit caught fire. Mr Dickie says everyone except a ten-year-old boy managed to get out, so he stepped in.
“I was just Johnny on the spot really . . . and any citizen out there who was in that position would probably act the same way. In the police we are required to deal with emergencies so even off-duty; we have not got some off button when we finish work.”
Mr Dickie says luckily the boy was fine and regained consciousness not long after being carried from the flames.
Monday, Mar. 19, 2007
Confronted by rushing, icy, dark water and an injured, unconscious Ithaca man slipping downstream in Cascadilla Gorge, Ithaca Police Officer Kevin McKenna didn’t hesitate.
He plunged in — gun, bullet-proof vest and all — to pull Albert Tran Nguyen, 22, to safety early Saturday morning.
“I wasn’t thinking about anything else,” McKenna said. “I saw him go into the water and I had to take action.”
McKenna’s jump was just the start of a daring, joint-agency rescue that ended with Nguyen being lifted from the gorge and airlifted to the hospital.
At about 4 a.m., McKenna and Ithaca Police Officer Mike Nelson responded to a report of a person at the bottom of the Cascadilla Gorge between Oak Avenue and Cornell’s Ward Laboratory needing assistance, according to police reports.
The officers met the man who had called in the report, who then guided them along a foot trail above the gorge on the south side. The man had heard Nguyen calling for help, police said.
Though there was some ambient light, visibility was low, McKenna said.
“You needed a flashlight to see what you were doing,” he said. “It was pretty dark in there.”
Despite the darkness, the officers spotted Nguyen sitting on an ice shelf on the gorge’s north bank. There was blood running down the left side of his face, and he was yelling incoherently — not acknowledging the officers’ attempts to communicate with him.
While Nelson stayed with the man above the gorge, McKenna slid 50 feet down the bank to make contact with Nguyen.
“I basically sat down and slid, and hoped for the best. I dug my heels into the snow to slow my descent, but that was probably the most nerve-racking thing, that slide to the bottom.”
At the water’s edge, McKenna took in the situation. Nguyen’s temple and left cheekbone, which had a large welt, were bleeding, and blood was flowing from his left ear. Nguyen’s left foot was shoeless and seemed to be injured as well.
“Once I got down there, it was apparent he was in bad shape,” McKenna said. “I recognized he was in serious trouble.”
McKenna also recognized that several yards of turbulent, possibly freezing water separated him from Nguyen, and that the unstable ice shelf on his side of the stream wouldn’t hold his weight.
“It was running water, and it had a decent cover of ice over it, so it had to be freezing or below,” he said.
A fast scan with his flashlight revealed the stream to be, for all practical purposes, fathomless.
“I had no idea how deep the water was,” he said. “It was murky. When I think about it now, it could’ve been over my head for all I knew.”
Nguyen was moaning, so McKenna tried to calm him, telling him to sit still until the Ithaca Fire Department arrived.
When Nguyen began to lie down on the ice shelf, McKenna shouted for him to sit up, the reports said. Despite his encouragement, Nguyen dropped back onto the shelf, which caused it to fracture and drop part way into the water, “leaving (Nguyen’s) head less than an inch from the flowing water.”
Nguyen looked at McKenna and tried to sit up, but to no avail.
“He was lying on the ice shelf with his head close to the water,” McKenna said. “When he flopped back down, he rolled into water and went head first down the stream, completely submerged.”
McKenna jumped, landed in the waist-deep stream, struggled through the current, and grabbed Nguyen. He estimated he was wearing anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds of equipment and clothing, including a leather jacket.
“I picked his entire body up and carried him to solid ground,” he said. “The current was pulling him down.”
McKenna dragged Nguyen to the north bank, 15 feet downstream from where he had fallen in the water, and lifted him onto the ice shelf.
“It wasn’t easy to cross, and it was harder when you’re dragging someone,” he said. “But it was pure adrenaline at that point, and I didn’t even think about it.”
To hear him speak, McKenna’s memory of the events is like clockwork — literally. They arrived at the scene at about 3:55 a.m., he said, and Nguyen dropped into the water at about 4:01 a.m. The immediate crisis had transpired in five minutes.
For the next ten minutes, however, McKenna said he struggled to get on the ice shelf himself while holding Nguyen on the shelf and out of the water — a problem complicated by the fragile ice shelf itself, which kept breaking under his weight.
“Once I found a foothold, I was able to climb out of the water,” he said.
Nelson had slid down on the south side of the gorge when McKenna went into the water, but was unable to reach McKenna and Nguyen on the north side. While Ithaca firefighters rigged lines to climb down to the pair and extract Nguyen safely, McKenna waited with Nguyen.
From the top of the gorge on the north side, Cornell University Police Officer Beverly Hughes tossed down a chemical suit and McKenna covered Nguyen with it to keep him warm.
“I covered him up with it the best I could,” he said.
He monitored Nguyen’s vital signs during the wait, McKenna said. Though Nguyen was unresponsive to stimuli and his eyes were rolled back in his head, he was breathing slowly and had a strong pulse, he added.
“I was concerned about losing the victim,” McKenna said. “He wasn’t in good shape, and it looked like he was getting worse. There was an obvious level of urgency to get him out of there.”
Ithaca Firefighter Jim Crowley climbed down the north side of the gorge at about 4:25 a.m., according to the reports. He and McKenna moved Nguyen onto dry blankets, covered him with other blankets and stabilized his head. Another firefighter arrived and they began to prepare to lift Nguyen from the gorge.
“It wasn’t until Crowley came down that (Nguyen) began to come around,” McKenna said.
When firefighters asked him if he wanted help getting out of the gorge, McKenna said he refused.
“I decided to stay there and make sure (Nguyen) got out, and help in any way possible,” he said.
He also stayed to help Crowley on the narrow bank and ice shelf, which had become so unstable by this time that Crowley was standing in the water for the majority of the time, he said.
Ithaca firefighters, Ithaca police and Bangs ambulance personnel all took part in lifting Nguyen from the gorge safely at 5:18 a.m., fire officials said.
The patient safely away, McKenna walked 20 feet downstream, found an easy grade, and climbed out of the gorge on his own two numb feet. After receiving treatment from ambulance personnel, McKenna went home, changed and tried to thaw out.
“I couldn’t feel my feet,” he said. “It took a while to get warmed back up.”
Nguyen was airlifted to Arnot-Ogden Medical Center in serious condition, has since been treated and released.
“I’m glad he’s ok,” McKenna said. “It would’ve weighed heavily on me personally had I stayed at the top of the gorge and done nothing.”