Eastern Iowans honored as lifesavers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Eastern Iowans honored as lifesavers

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DES MOINES (KWWL) - Gov. Chet Culver honored 23 people at the State Fair with the 2009 Governor's Lifesaving Awards.

"This award recognizes the heroic actions of Iowans who have gone above and beyond in saving the life or lives of their fellow Iowans," Culver said. "They embody our spirit of service and commitment to each other, and I am proud to recognize their heroism."

The Governor's Lifesaving Award Program started in the 1970s to recognize Iowans who have performed a courageous act in an attempt to save someone's life or who have unselfishly assisted in an emergency situation.

Below is the news release from the Governor's office detailing the program and award winners.

The Governor's Lifesaving Award Program comprises the following categories:

  • Lifesaving with Valor - awarded to those individuals who, at the risk of their own life, attempted to save that of another person.
  • Lifesaving - awarded to those individuals who have attempted to save the life of another individual without placing their own life in jeopardy during the rescue.
  • Meritorious - awarded to those individuals in recognition of outstanding and unselfish service rendered in a time of distress.
  • Outstanding - presented to persons who have performed a courageous act in an attempt to save an individual who was in danger of losing his or her life or to individuals who unselfishly rendered service in a time of emergency.

Eastern Iowans awarded include:

Chad Blanchard - Lifesaving (Parkersburg)
Edwin Blanchard - Lifesaving (New Hartford)
Brian DeBower - Lifesaving (Aplington)
James Hansel - Lifesaving (Parkersburg)
Jesse Lamp - Lifesaving (Grundy Center)
Connie Reynolds - Lifesaving (Aplington)

On May 25th, 2008, in the wake of an EF5 tornado which moved through the community of Parkersburg, Jesse Lamp, James Hansel, Brian DeBower, Connie Reynolds, Edwin Blanchard, and Chad Blanchard arrived on scene at 712 3rd Street, within minutes after the storm to render aid to Karen & Dana Anderson.

Mr. Anderson was trapped in the basement of his home by walls of debris. A metal object had been driven into his right foot. He was losing a considerable amount of blood and beginning to go into shock. Chad and Edwin Blanchard responded without regard for their own safety to gain access to Mr. Anderson. As they assisted Trooper Souhrada to free him, he shared that his sister, Karen, was buried in the rubble on the upper level of what was left of the house. Without hesitation, Chad and Edwin followed Trooper Souhrada to assist with the search for Ms. Anderson. She was situated beneath the rubble, but still alive. She was having trouble breathing as she was being crushed and overcome by fumes. Rescuers were encouraged to remove Mr. Anderson immediately because any disruption of the debris piles around Ms. Anderson would fall directly onto him. The only option was to remove him before rescue efforts could begin for Ms. Anderson.

Once Mr. Anderson was evacuated from the house, J.J. Hansel and Jesse Lamp stayed to assist with the evacuation of his sister. After the combined efforts of all the rescuers, Ms. Anderson was freed from the rubble.

Brian DeBower was the first to call for help. Connie Reynolds is credited in the saving of Mr. Anderson's leg and foot by applying a splint to the compound fracture of his right leg and applying a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Connie also assisted in transporting the Andersons to the triage center. This rescue was a team effort and every participant held an important role. They selflessly accepted a call to help their neighbors while placing themselves in harm's way.

Jesse Lamp, James Hansel, Brian DeBower, Connie Reynolds, Chad Blanchard and Edwin Blanchard are being awarded the Governor's Lifesaving Award for their selflessness in rescuing the Andersons from life-threatening debris.

Patrick Kelly - Lifesaving (Monticello)

On April 14, 2009, Mr. Patrick Kelly was on a late night walk with his dog when he observed smoke pouring out of his neighbor's home. Patrick instructed his wife to call 911 and ran to Ms. Gloria Wolken's residence. Patrick began pounding on all windows surrounding the home. A light turned on from a bedroom in the northwest corner of the home and caught Patrick's attention. He shouted and informed her that her home was on fire. Ms. Wolken was able to open the interior window, but struggled with the storm window. Patrick quickly broke the exterior window and held Ms. Wolken partially outside the window until additional help arrived. CJ Johnson then arrived and assisted her from the burning home. Given any further delay, Ms. Wolken would have died from smoke inhalation.

Today, Patrick Kelly is being awarded with the Governor's Lifesaving Award for his swift response and heroic actions in saving the life of Ms. Gloria Wolken.


Linda Davis - Lifesaving (Tama)

On June 25, 2008, Mrs. Linda Davis was traveling west on 310th Avenue when Mr. Floyd Campbell failed to obey a stop sign and their vehicles collided. Linda, who was trapped in her vehicle after a secondary collision with a utility pole, exited through the rear window. While suffering from her own injuries, she climbed down a steep ravine to assist Mr. Campbell. He was ejected from his vehicle on impact, landing face-down and unconscious in more than a foot of water. Linda was unable to move him, but held his head above water until emergency responders could arrive. Linda was later transported to the hospital for treatment of her own injuries.

Linda Davis's actions were unselfish when she saved the life of Mr. Campbell and she is being awarded with the Governor's Lifesaving Award.

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