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Recognition Awards

 

2011 LIFESAVING AWARD HONOREES

Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad recognized 26 individuals for unselfish service to their fellow citizens and family members on August 17, 2011 at the Iowa State Fair. The Governor's Lifesaving Awards Ceremony recognizes citizens who helped a friend or neighbor in critical need of assistance, and in turn, became everyday heroes. There are four categories in which honorees are recognized: lifesaving with valor, lifesaving, meritorious service and outstanding service as listed below:

  • Lifesaving With Valor: Award is presented to those persons who, while risking their own life, saved the lives of others;
  • Lifesaving: Award is given to those who have saved the lives of others without apparent risk to their own life;
  • Meritorious Service: Award is presented to those individuals who have rendered expeditious service in a time of emergency.
  • Outstanding Service: Award is 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 an unselfish service rendered in time of emergency and not necessarily life threatening.

Click on the names listed below to read a synopsis regarding the type of award and each person's heroic actions, as well as a photo of the recipient.

 
Lifesaving Award Honorees
Shane Monson -- Lifesaving -- Clear Lake, Iowa
Michael Moorehead -- Lifesaving -- Clear Lake, Iowa
Ryan Ruden -- Outstanding Service -- Coralville, Iowa
Morgan Parthemore -- Lifesaving -- Unknown
Amy Kauffman -- Lifesaving -- Grimes, Iowa
Karen Kauffman -- Lifesaving -- Emmettsburg, Iowa
Juanita Gensley-Bader -- Lifesaving -- Iowa City, Iowa
James Wenndt -- Outstanding Service -- Lacona, Iowa
Tami Knapp -- Lifesaving -- Urbandale, Iowa
John Knapp -- Meritorious Service -- Urbandale, Iowa
Terry Wackerbarth -- Lifesaving -- Spirit Lake, Iowa

Carl Trask -- Lifesaving -- Des Moines, Iowa

John Sellers -- Lifesaving -- Ankeny, Iowa

Courtney Rogers -- Meritorious Service -- Marion, Iowa

Kaitlin Mitchell -- Meritorious Service -- Center Point, Iowa
Jordan Oberbreckling -- Lifesaving -- Wyoming, Iowa
Emily Kleinmeyer -- Lifesaving -- Iowa City, Iowa

Ann Mathies -- Meritorious Service -- Prole, Iowa

Mark Miller -- Meritorious Service -- West Des Moines, Iowa
Eric Brown -- Lifesaving -- Polk City, Iowa
Brad Butler -- Lifesaving -- Ankeny, Iowa
Steve Tomlinson -- Lifesaving -- Cambridge, Iowa
Rick Tomlinson -- Lifesaving -- Berwick, Iowa
Robert “Bob” Davisson -- Lifesaving -- Bouton, Iowa
James Kluesner -- Outstanding Service -- Dubuque, Iowa
Bobby Heriford -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Centerville, Iowa
 

 

Shane Monson -- Lifesaving -- Clear Lake, Iowa

Michael Moorehead -- Lifesaving -- Clear Lake, Iowa

 

On November 10, 2008, Mr. Joshua Featherstone was traveling westbound in a fertilizer sprayer when he lost control and it rolled over. Mr. Featherstone was ejected from the vehicle. The vehicle came to rest in the south ditch, pinning Mr. Featherstone facedown under the rear tire. The twenty-nine thousand pound machine was covering his entire body.

Shane Monson and Michael Moorehead happened across the accident. Mr. Featherstone was conscious and breathing, but disoriented. Unable to summon emergency personnel, Shane and Michael decided that removing the machinery from Mr. Featherstone was the best course of action. Shane, after two attempts, was able to move the machinery. Michael stayed on the ground to render first aid, if needed and instructed Shane when he had cleared Mr. Featherstone.

Shane remained in control of the sprayer, ensuring it did not roll back on Mr. Featherstone. He was advised to stay still and not move until EMT arrived. Michael then ran until he could obtain reception to contact rescue personnel and advise them where they were located.

Mr. Featherstone sustained a pelvic fracture, three broken ribs, a punctured lung and bruised shoulders. Shane Monson and Michael Moorhead are being awarded Governor’s Lifesaving Awards for their swift response, quick thinking and strong determination to save the life of Mr. Joshua Featherstone.

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Shane Monson

Pictured: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Shane Monson, Governor Terry E. Branstad

Not Pictured: Michael Moorehead


 

Ryan Ruden -- Outstanding Service -- Coralville, Iowa

On January 11, 2009, Ms. Bridgid Ruden was home with her son Ryan, then 13 years of age. Ms. Ruden was on the phone with her mother. Her mother thought Ms. Ruden did not seem like herself. Ms. Ruden’s mother asked to speak with Ryan and communicated her concerns for Ms. Ruden’s well-being before ending the conversation.   

While listening to music, Ms. Ruden suffered a major seizure and upon falling to the floor, causing injury to her nose, chin and mouth area which bled significantly. Ryan saw her collapse and acted calmly and caringly to assist his mother through this medical event. Ryan quickly dialed 911 and informed the dispatcher of the situation. Upon instruction by the 911 dispatcher, Ryan assisted his mother’s breathing by holding her mouth open, pinching her nose and rolling her on her side until emergency responders could arrive.

Mr. Ryan Ruden is being presented with the Governor’s Outstanding Service Award for his quick and calm actions in securing her airway; thus preventing his mother from suffering further serious injury or death.

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Ryan Ruden

Pictured: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Ryan Ruden, Governor Terry E. Branstad

 

Morgan Parthemore -- Lifesaving -- Unknown

Amy Kauffman -- Lifesaving -- Grimes, Iowa

Karen Kauffman -- Lifesaving -- Emmettsburg, Iowa

Juanita Gensley-Bader -- Lifesaving -- Iowa City, Iowa

 

On April 4, 2009, a four-year-old child, was attending a reunion at a hotel and swimming in the pool with some family and friends. She went under the water and was unable to resurface.

Morgan Parthemore and Amy Kauffman saw the little girl and retrieved her from the pool. They then handed her to Karen Kauffman and Juanita Gensley – Bader, who were also poolside and they began CPR immediately. Karen and Juanita continued giving CPR until paramedics arrived. She was transported to the hospital for evaluation and treatment.

Amy Parthemore, Amy Kauffman, Karen Kauffman and Juanita Gensely – Bader are being presented the Governor’s Lifesaving Award for their quick and selfless actions in rescuing this little girl. Without their swift response to this situation, the outcome could have been much different.

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Karen Kauffman

Pictured: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Karen Kauffman, Governor Terry E. Branstad

Not Pictured: Morgan Parthemore, Amy Kauffman, Juanita Gensley-Bader


 

James Wenndt -- Outstanding Service -- Lacona, Iowa

On October 17, 2009, Mr. Craig Wenndt was moving a deer stand from one fence line to another. He was 16 foot high when the stand fell from the tree. As soon as he hit the ground, he knew that something was seriously wrong with his leg. His son, James Wenndt who was six years old at the time, was accompanying his dad.

After the fall, Mr.  Wenndt asked his son James to get help. Six year old James ran to the nearby neighbor’s home and summoned help. The neighbors dialed 911. Due to the severity of injuries, the ambulance had to stop twice to control the bleeding on the way to the hospital. Mr.  Wenndt had broken his leg in nine places.

James Wenndt is being awarded the Governor’s Outstanding Service Award for his bravery in summoning help for his dad. It is the age of this young man that makes this a unique occurrence.

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James Wenndt

Pictured: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, James Wenndt, Governor Terry E. Branstad

 

Tami Knapp -- Lifesaving -- Urbandale, Iowa

John Knapp -- Meritorious Service -- Urbandale, Iowa

 

On April 22, 2010 Mr. James Legget was working on a truck in his garage. He was grinding on the frame with a high speed, air operated, disc grinding tool. During the process, the disc disintegrated. A large portion of the shrapnel from the disc entered Mr. Legget’s left arm causing a traumatic injury. The injury was located about one (1) inch above the left elbow and was a deep laceration. Mr. Legget was now severely injured and hemorrhaging from a severed artery in his arm. This laceration was large and to the bone. Many of Mr. Legget’s nerves and muscles had been severed.

Mr. Legget recognized he was in serious trouble and called out for help. A neighbor, John Knapp, Jr., was outside. John heard Mr. Legget’s calls for help, jumped a fence and went to his aid. John recognized Mr. Legget was in serious trouble; ran home to dial 911 and summoned his mother, Tami Knapp. John and his mother Tami rushed to provide aid for their neighbor.

While John was on the phone giving vital information to dispatch, Tami Knapp took a towel and applied it to the injury to stop the bleeding. John watched at the curbside of the Legget residence to flag down emergency personnel. Tami recognized the need to stop the bleeding and improvised a tourniquet with a cord.

An officer arrived and the trio continued to tend to Mr. Legget’s arm in an attempt to stop the bleeding. At one point, Mr. Legget passed out momentarily from the significant blood loss. An ambulance soon arrived and he was taken to the hospital where he underwent vascular surgery to repair the severed artery in his arm.

The actions of these two individuals saved the life of Mr. John Legget. John Knapp, Jr. is being awarded the Governor’s Meritorious Service award for his quick response to Mr. Legget’s plea for help and summoning additional assistance. Tami Knapp is being awarded the Governor’s Lifesaving Award for recognizing the severity of Mr. Legget’s injury and devising a tourniquet, which ultimately saved his life.

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Tami and John Knapp

Pictured: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Tami Knapp, John Knapp, Governor Terry E. Branstad

 

Terry Wackerbarth -- Lifesaving -- Spirit Lake, Iowa

 

On May 22, 2010, at approximately 9:00 a.m., Mr. Robert Weeks and Ronnie Rettig were fishing on Big Spirit Lake. Due to the three (3) to four (4) foot waves, their boat was swamped and quickly capsized, causing both men to enter the water. The reported water temperature was 58 degrees with a peak wind gust at 49 miles per hour.

Terry Wackerbarth was fishing nearby when he heard the men yelling. Terry drove his boat to their aid. First he pulled in Mr. Rettig who was holding onto the capsized boat. Even though Mr. Wackerbarth’s boat was slightly bigger and somewhat deeper that Mr. Week’s boat, at that time they feared a second capsize. Together the two men pulled in Mr. Weeks who was floating nearby.

The two men were in the water an estimated 5 to 10 minutes. Due to the high winds, temperature of the water and the size of the waves breaking over their heads, these men were in a potentially serious situation. 

Terry Wackerbarth is being awarded the Governor’s Lifesaving Award for his selfless actions in the rescue of Mr. Robert Weeks and Ronnie Rettig from the dangerous water on Big Spirit Lake.

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No Photo Available. Mr. Wacherbarth was unable to attend the Awards Presentation.

 

 

Carl Trask -- Lifesaving -- Des Moines, Iowa

John Sellers -- Lifesaving -- Ankeny, Iowa

 

On May 27, 2010, at approximately 4:00 p.m., a vehicle driven by Ms. Chandra Kami was northbound on Highway 65 when she lost control and entered the south ditch. Ms. Kami’s vehicle entered the ditch backward and came to rest in a cement culvert in nearly four (4) foot of moving water.

Carl Trask was the first to render aid and ran towards Ms. Kami to check for injuries. She was alert and conscious and Carl told her to stay still for fear that any sudden movement may cause the vehicle to shift weight and sink into the water. He then ran back to his vehicle and immediately dialed 911 for emergency personnel. At this time, a second passing vehicle occupied by John Sellers arrived on scene. Mr. Sellers ran down the ditch and waded into the water to hold the outstretched arm of Ms. Kami. He too advised her to remain still until emergency crews arrived.

While waiting for emergency personnel to arrive, the car began filling up with water (trunk first) and slide down the cement culvert. John then reached in through the driver's side window, grabbed Ms. Kami and pulled her out while pushing away from the vehicle to keep from getting pulled down with it. Emergency responders arrived in time to assist getting Ms. Kami to shore.

These men entered waters where the depth was unknown to render aid to a passing motorist.  Carl Trask and John Sellers are being awarded a Governor’s Lifesaving Award for their unselfish assistance rendered to Ms. Chandra Kami during her time of need.

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John Sellers and Carl Trask

Pictured: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, John Sellers, Carl Trask, Governor Terry E. Branstad

 

Courtney Rogers -- Meritorious Service -- Marion, Iowa

Kaitlin Mitchell -- Meritorious Service -- Center Point, Iowa

Jordan Oberbreckling -- Lifesaving -- Wyoming, Iowa

Emily Kleinmeyer -- Lifesaving -- Iowa City, Iowa

 

On August 30, 2010, just after 5:00 P.M., Mr. Samuel Gordon, a college freshman, collapsed into unconsciousness on the track at Coe College. Mr. Gordon had just finished a strenuous physical workout of playing tennis for two hours and running sprints and quarter mile laps around the track on a very warm and humid afternoon.

He began feeling ill and stopped to rest on the bleachers. He then lost consciousness and fell between the bleachers into the support framework.  An unknown person saw his fall or saw him unconscious shortly after the onset and yelled for help.

Courtney Rogers, Kaitlin Mitchell, Jordan Oberbreckling and Emily Kleinmeyer, rushed to Mr. Gordon’s aid. Courtney and Kaitlin were able to free him from the bleacher supports and placed him on the running track.  They then lifted the moveable bleachers out of the way.  Courtney left to get her cell phone and dial 911. She then returned to the rescue scene.

Emily noticed Mr. Gordon was turning blue and checked for a pulse and breathing.  As Emily performed chest compressions, Jordon began mouth to mouth rescue breathing.  After 2-3 cycles of CPR, Mr. Gordon regained consciousness.

Within minutes, EMS arrived and he was taken to the hospital. Mr. Gordon was unresponsive with an extremely high pulse rate, profuse sweating, and a body temperature of 104°F.  He again stopped breathing on his own and required intubation by hospital staff. After three days in the hospital, Mr. Gordon made a complete and full recovery and was released.

Courtney Rogers and Kaitlin Mitchell are being awarded the Governor’s Meritorious Service Award for providing aid to Mr. Samuel Gordon and safely moving him to a more readily accessible location. Jordan Oberbreckling and Emily Kleinmeyer are being awarded the Governor’s Lifesaving Award for their swift response to recognizing his symptoms and successfully performing CPR. The combined actions of these individuals saved the life of Mr. Samuel Gordon.

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4 Teens Receive Award

Pictured: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Jordan Oberbreckling, Kaitlin Mitchell, Courtney Rogers, Emily Kleinmeyer, Governor Terry E. Branstad

 

Ann Mathies -- Meritorious Service -- Prole, Iowa

Mark Miller -- Meritorious Service -- West Des Moines, Iowa

Eric Brown -- Lifesaving -- Polk City, Iowa

Brad Butler -- Lifesaving -- Ankeny, Iowa

Steve Tomlinson -- Lifesaving -- Cambridge, Iowa

Rick Tomlinson -- Lifesaving -- Berwick, Iowa

Robert “Bob” Davisson -- Lifesaving -- Bouton, Iowa

 

On Wednesday, October 20, 2010, Mr. Marvin Nichols was mowing grass near the west side of the DMACC pond. While mowing, Mr. Nichol’s mower slid and rolled into the pond. The mower was upside down in the water with Mr. Nichols pinned underneath.

Ann Mathies was walking near the pond when she heard a lawn mower behind her make a "strange" sound.  When Ms. Mathies turned around, she saw a John Deere riding mower lying upside down in the pond. She ran to a nearby car and asked Mark Miller to call 911 before approaching the scene.

At approximately the same time, Brad Butler, Rick Tomlinson and Steve Tomlinson were in a pickup driving on the north side of the pond and noticed a cloud of smoke coming from the west side.  They then noticed the mower and drove to the accident site and entered the water to attempt to lift the mower off of Mr. Nichols. 

At the same time, Eric Brown was jogging on the opposite side of the pond when he heard the same sound. He looked across and noticed smoke coming from a mower in the water. Mr. Brown ran around the pond as fast as he could to assist. He then entered the water with the other rescuers.

Another person, Bob Davisson arrived and entered the water and also helped to remove the mower from the top of Mr. Nichols.  The men were knee deep in mud and the water was waist deep. It took all five men to move the mower (with an estimated weight of over 800 pounds). 

They were able to remove the mower and were holding Mr. Nichols head above water when the first police officer arrived.  Mr. Nichols was transported to the hospital where, after a lengthy stay, he recovered. 

By all witness accounts, Mr. Nichols had spent several minutes under the water and had all those involved not been in the right place at the right time and acted as they did, the outcome would have been fatal.

Ann Mathies and Mark Miller are being presented the Meritorious Service Award based on their roles in this incident. Eric Brown, Brad Butler, Rick Tomlinson, Steve Tomlinson and Bob Davisson are all being presented the Governor’s Lifesaving Award for their swift response in removing the mower off Mr. Nichols and assisting him to safety.

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Group of Iowans Receive Awards

Pictured: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Robert Davisson, Steve Tomlinson, Rick Tomlinson, Eric Brown, Mark Miller, Ann Mathies, Brad Butler, Governor Terry E. Branstad

 
James Kluesner -- Outstanding Service -- Dubuque, Iowa

On November 26, 2010, the Kluesner family headed out for their annual post-Thanksgiving deer hunting trip. Before sunrise, Kevin and his sons Jimmy, 17, Yanni, 13, and Tommy, 10, were driving north towards their destination in a Ford Excursion which was pulling a trailer with a four-wheel ATV. Jimmy rode up front with his dad while the younger two were sleeping in the back seat. 

As they pulled onto the gravel, road conditions seemed normal, but as they crested the hill it turned into a solid sheet of ice. The steep decline would be met with a narrow bridge and set of railroad tracks. The weight of the trailer turned the SUV around as they uncontrollably slid down the hill. The SUV lurched violently and rolled one time before coming to rest upside down on the train tracks. Mr. Kluesner yelled to awake the sleeping boys so they could brace themselves.

Everyone was unbelted and lying on the ceiling; along with their scattered belongings for the trip. And if that wasn’t enough, with very little natural lighting, Mr. Kluesner crawled through a window and in the same moment, heard an oncoming train’s whistle. Youngest son Yanni screamed he was stuck. Mr. Kluesner tried reaching him from multiple angles without success. As he pulled some of their belongings from the back hatch, a lantern fell.  Using the lantern, Mr. Kluesner then re-entered the vehicle along with oldest son Jimmy. As Jimmy began backing out, holding Yanni’s legs, Mr. Kluesner ran up the tracks in hopes of stopping the train. After getting Yanni out, Jimmy was unaware of his father’s whereabouts and re-entered the dark SUV frantically searching for him. After the quick search Jimmy crawled out and a short time later, the train then struck the vehicle.

After striking the vehicle the train engineer called 911. As an emergency vehicle approached the scene, it also lost control and rolled over. Mr. Kluesner and Jimmy approached that vehicle to offer aid. Miraculously, after two weather related accidents, no one was seriously injured. Everyone was checked out by physicians and released.

Mr. Jimmy Kluesner is being awarded the Governor’s Outstanding Service Award. Jimmy’s actions were brave and his quick thinking and selfless actions saved the life of his brother Yanni.

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James Kluesner

Pictured: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, James Kluesner, Governor Terry E. Branstad

 

Bobby Heriford -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Centerville, Iowa

On January 27, 2011, at approximately 6:45 a.m., a residence in Centerville caught fire. Ms. Hope Shondel awoke from sleeping and recognized the urgency to evacuate everyone from her home. Her 21-year old daughter, Samantha, 17-year old son, Michael and twin 2-year old granddaughters, Virginia and Georgia were still in the residence. Ms. Shondel told her son to take one toddler out the back door and instructed her daughter to take the other.

At this time, Bobby Heriford was exiting a convenience store across the street when his girlfriend observed what she thought was a house fire. Bobby looked up seeing what he thought was a small child in the window with flames and smoke, confirming her suspicions. He quickly dialed 911 and approached the front porch of the house where he heard screaming.

After several attempts, he kicked in the front door. Samantha met Bobby with empty arms and indicated Georgia was still in the living room. As Samantha collapsed in the front yard, Bobby entered the burning residence and rescued Georgia. The other members of the Shondel family had already exited through the back.

When emergency personnel arrived, Samantha and Georgia were transported to the hospital where they were treated for severe burns and smoke inhalation. The heat was so intense that Bobby’s facial hair was singed and the skin on his face began to blister.

Bobby Heriford is being awarded the Governor’s Lifesaving with Valor award for risking his own life during the rescue of Ms. Samantha Anthony and Georgia Shondel, whom he without hesitation entered a burning home to save the lives of two people.

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Bobby Heriford

Pictured: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Bobby Heriford, Governor Terry E. Branstad

 

 

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Created: 02-07-2006
Last Updated: 08-17-2011 (JGL)