GRAND RAPIDS – The crashed car was on fire outside of his Dowling Road. One person was already dead inside. The other passenger was trapped.
|Black Swamp Humanitarian Awards for Good Samaritans were given to Rick Strow (from left) Nathan Richards, Jennifer Richards, Logan TenEyck, Gracyn Amos, Malissa Amos and Josh Amos. (Photos by J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
And the ball was in James Perry’s court. What would he do? What could he do?
“I just reacted like I think anyone else would,” said Perry of the incident, which occurred last summer.
Perry, now of South Dakota, was the recipient of the Life Risk Award at the 25th Annual Black Swamp Humanitarian Awards, one of a number of area residents who sprang into action to help their fellow citizen in a series of extraordinary circumstances. The ceremony took place at Nazareth Hall Friday evening.
In Perry’s case, he rushed to the scene and, after a neighbor brought fire extinguishers, braved the flames and the potential for a deadly explosion from the blazing automobile as he tried to put the fire out. He was also able to open the passenger’s side door of the vehicle.
“He was able to have the fire completely out before the fire department arrived,” said Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn as he recounted the story to attendees at the event.
“There is no doubt in our mind that you certainly risked your life” and in doing so, saved the life of the trapped person, he said to Perry.
“It’s a very special feeling,” Perry said of receiving the award.
Among those receiving the Service to Others Award were three Bowling Green Police officers – Jessica McClure-Weis, Gordon Finger, and Terry Davis – in recognition of their life-saving efforts on Jan. 29 of this year. On that day, the officers were first on the scene of a possible drug overdose and found a female who was unresponsive and not breathing. They administered rescue breathing and continued until EMS arrived at the apartment.
The officers have demonstrated “what it means to be of service to others” throughout their careers, said Maj. Tony Hetrick of the BGPD, noting “their compassion, which gave that young lady a second chance at life.”
|Black Swamp Humanitarian Awards for Service to Others were given to Terry Davis (from left), Jessica McClure-Weis, Gordon Finger and Nick Nichols. James Perry (right) was given the Life Risk Award at the 25th annual awards program recognizing heroic acts by local residents.
“We’re very proud of our police department,” McClure-Weis said in accepting the award. “I can tell you we’d do it all over again.”
While other awardees Friday night worked to save the lives of strangers, Nick Nichols, North Baltimore, had the distinction of saving the life of a family member – that of his own father.
On Jan. 12, Nichols found his father, Richard, unresponsive as he sat at a kitchen table. He began CPR and continued doing so until EMS arrived. The EMS night captain said that without Nichols’ efforts, his father might never have been revived.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him,” Sentinel Editor Jan Larson McLaughlin quoted Richard Nichols as saying as she imparted the tale to the crowd.
As a result of the incident, the North Baltimore Council offered free CPR classes to residents.
Eight people received the Good Samaritan Award.
In Bowling Green on Feb. 24, Malissa Amos was in her house when her daughter, Gracyn, told her that a man was lying in their yard. The young man, a jogger, had collapsed and had no pulse. Amos, a registered nurse, began administering CPR while Josh, her husband, kept time for her. They continued their efforts until EMS arrived.
“It’s in me, I guess,” said Amos as she and her family accepted their awards, “so it’s hard for me to think that someone might not jump on right away.”
On May 31 of this year Jennifer Richards and her husband, Nathan, rushed to the scene of an ATV accident after their son, Colton, told them of the crash. They were met by Richard Strow and Ryan Mazey, who also had come upon the accident, and the young man who had driven the ATV.
“It was a very traumatic ATV accident,” said Kathy Heyman and she told of the incident, noting that Jennifer and the rest put themselves “in harm’s way” to help the driver, with Jennifer crafting a tourniquet from a belt. Unfortunately, the driver did not survive.
“These people stayed with that young man the whole time” and encouraged him, said Heyman.
“That evening, for some reason, God gave me the ability to act,” said Jennifer Richards.
“It was just that someone needed help, I was there, and I did what I could,” said Strow.
Kathy Bomer described the heroism of then-12-year-old Logan TenEyck at the Perrysburg Township community pool.
Logan, a Boy Scout, saw a mother and her two children coming out of a restroom. The mother, attending to her baby in a stroller, didn’t notice the older child running and falling into the deep end of the pool. The child sank to the bottom. Logan jumped in and retrieved the boy, bringing him back up safely.
The child didn’t require any further medical attention.
“Logan wants to be a lifeguard some day,” said Bomer.