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2012 LIFESAVING AWARD HONOREES

Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad recognized 18 individuals for unselfish service to their fellow citizens and family members on August 10, 2012 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, meritorius 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. Photos of the recipients will be posted as soon as possible following the ceremony.

 
Award Honorees
Rodney Stevenson--Lifesaving With Valor--Milford, Iowa
David Johns -- Lifesaving Award -- Ogden, Iowa
Kujitime Ajro -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Makeda Barkley -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Lisbon, Iowa
Jonathan Jones -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Lisbon, Iowa
Nathan Marling -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Brent Baerenwald -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Ames, Iowa
Kaden Main -- Outstanding Service Award -- Ankeny, Iowa
Jeffrey Laughlin -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Eldon, Iowa
Cameron Peirce -- Meritorious Service Award -- Sioux City, Iowa
Riley Peirce -- Meritorious Service Award -- Sioux City, Iowa
Rob Evans -- Lifesaving Award -- Waukee, Iowa

Brittany Beaver -- Outstanding Service Award -- Knoxville, Iowa

Jonathan Beaver -- Outstanding Service Award -- Knoxville, Iowa
Kaden Botkin -- Outstanding Service Award -- Knoxville, Iowa
Aaron Huffaker -- Outstanding Service Award -- Knoxville, Iowa
Cody Long -- Outstanding Service Award -- Knoxville, Iowa
Jonathan McMichael -- Outstanding Service Award -- Wever, Iowa
   

Rodney Stevenson -- Lifesaving With Valor -- Milford, Iowa

On May 11, 2011, at approximately 11:15 in the morning, Mr. Rodney Stevenson was working on pipes underneath a mobile home in Milford when he heard someone nearby yell, “fire.” Rodney crawled out from underneath the trailer and could see a nearby mobile home was on fire.

He swiftly climbed to his feet and attempted to enter the burning unit through the front door. Unable to do so because of heavy smoke and heat, Rodney searched for an alternate entrance. Two adults were attempting to exit through a bedroom window when Rodney spotted them. He broke the window, assisted them out and asked if there was anyone else inside the home. Without a definitive answer, Rodney put his ear up to listen when he heard a baby cry. 

The height of the window from the ground required the assistance of a bystander who was asked to retrieve a ladder from a nearby jobsite.  Rodney crawled into the mobile home through the same window the two adults had just exited. Once inside, the amount of smoke caused zero visibility, but by feeling around, Rodney was able to locate Kenyin.

Rodney pulled Kenyin out of the crib, took him to the window and passed him to other concerned citizens who had come to assist. Rodney dove out the window in an attempt to catch his breath.  Milford Fire Fighters arrived on scene approximately 10 minutes later to find Rodney on his hands and knees outside with violent flames coming out the windows. Tragically, a two-year-old did not survive the incident; however, three adults and two children escaped.

Without regard to his own safety, Rodney entered the burning residence. Although Mr. Stevenson was unable to attend the award ceremony, we recognize him as a deserving recipient of the Governor’s Lifesaving with Valor Award for his heroic actions which saved the life of Kenyin.

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David Johns -- Lifesaving Award -- Ogden, Iowa

On June 8, 2011, at approximately 2:30 in the afternoon, Mr. Chris Poling was working at an outdoor equipment shop in Boone. Mr. Poling looked up a part on the store computer and had gone into the store room to retrieve it. Without any warning or symptoms, he collapsed. His heart went into sudden arrest and completely stopped. David Johns, a co-worker and mechanic, had noticed that Mr. Poling needed an additional part and went to find him. David arrived in the store room to find Mr. Poling on the floor, unresponsive. Mr. Johns immediately called out for someone to dial 911. David was able to determine that Mr. Poling was not breathing, nor did he have a pulse. David began administering CPR and continued until paramedics arrived. It was estimated that they arrived 8 to 10 minutes after the incident started. Upon arrival, paramedics assessed Mr. Poling and determined that he was still in full cardiac arrest. They used a defibrillator three times in order to restore a heartbeat and once they did, Mr. Poling began breathing again. He was taken to a local hospital and stabilized prior to being transported to another hospital by helicopter. Today, Mr. David Johns is being awarded the Governor’s Lifesaving Award for administering CPR to Mr. Chris Poling during a medical emergency, thus saving his life. David’s ability to properly identify Mr. Poling’s medical emergency and calmly performing CPR, caused the successful outcome of this event.

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David Johns
Pictured Left to Right: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, 2011 Iowa State Fair Queen Paris Schnepf, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, David Johns, Governor Terry E. Branstad

Kujitime Ajro -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Makeda Barkley -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Lisbon, Iowa

Jonathan Jones -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Lisbon, Iowa

Nathan Marling -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Cedar Rapids, Iowa

On June 19, 2011, a family was at Palisades Park with their children who were 6 and 9 years old. The two boys were on the sandbar in knee-deep water when the 6-year-old lost his balance and drifted into deeper water. His older brother grabbed his arm and yelled for help. The boys’ parents began to yell for help because neither know how to swim.

As the current began to carry the boys away, a nearby person, Mr. Jonathan Jones, was fishing when he observed the boys struggling. Jonathan handed his fishing pole to his daughter before entering the water to assist.   He made his way to the children.  He was holding them both while treading water and trying to make it back to shore. They were in an area of moving water with a strong current and undertow.

A second rescuer Kujtime Ajro entered the waters to help the trio. As Ms. Ajro reached Mr. Jones, he stated, “Take the boys. I cannot hold them anymore.”  Ms. Ajro took the oldest boy and placed him on her back. As the pair began swimming towards the sandbar, the current pulled them further away and towards the middle of the river.  A third rescuer, Makeda Barkley, entered the water to aid the 9-year-old and Ms. Ajro.  Both were safely brought to shore.

Meanwhile, the youngest boy was being rescued by Nathan Marling. He was also in the area fishing and heard cries for help.  Mr. Marling jumped in to assist Mr. Jones with the youngest child. As he reached them, he took a hold of the child and noticed that Mr. Jones had gone under water. Nathan tried to grab Mr. Jones to pull him to the surface, but was unsuccessful. Nathan was forced to let go in order to save the child and himself.  He then placed the child on his chest and swam to shore.

Both children were successfully pulled from the Cedar River and returned to their parents.  All rescuers placed their own lives in danger. Although one very heroic Mr. Jonathon Jones lost his life, two more were saved.  All rescuers were very brave to jump into the uncontrolled river and rescue the boys.

Today, Mr. Nathan Marling, Ms. Kujtime Ajro, Ms. Makeda Barkley and the family of Mr. Jonathan Jones are being awarded the Governor’s Lifesaving Award of Valor for their heroic actions at Palisades Park.

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Ajro, Barkley, Jones, Marling
Pictured Left to Right: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, 2011 Iowa State Fair Queen Paris Schnepf, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Makeda Barkley, Kujitime Ajro, Nathan Marling, Surviving Family of Jonathan Jones, Governor Terry E. Branstad.

Brent Baerenwald -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Ames, Iowa

On August 14, 2011, Mrs. Julie Schwery went into full cardiac arrest while on her morning walk near a park in Ames.  Mrs. Schwery had collapsed face down on the sidewalk near a parking lot and was bleeding from facial injuries.  Brent Baerenwald had arrived for his morning walk and observed Mrs. Schwery lying on the sidewalk.  He immediately went to check on her welfare and determined that she was not breathing nor did she have a pulse.  He called 911 and then went immediately into CPR.  Brent continued CPR until emergency responders arrived almost five minutes later. Emergency responders utilized the AED to shock Mrs. Schwery until a pulse was detected.

Today, Mr. Brent Baerenwald is being recognized for the Governor’s Lifesaving Award for summoning medical personnel and successfully administering CPR, saving the life of Mrs. Julie Schwery.

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Brent Baerenwald
Pictured Left to Right: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, 2011 Iowa State Fair Queen Paris Schnepf, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Brent Baerenwald, Governor Terry E. Branstad.

Kaden Main -- Outstanding Service Award -- Ankeny, Iowa

On September 4, 2011 at approximately 2:30 p.m., Mr. Heath Main was working with his son, Kaden, at their residence. Mr. Main was using an electric jackhammer to breakup some concrete in a creek in his backyard. This creek is approximately six foot wide.  Mr. Main had been working on breaking up the concrete for about an hour. Kaden had been helping by holding the cord of the jackhammer up and out of the water. Mr. Main had his left foot on the small concrete wall he was working on and his right foot was in the water.

Mr. Main had almost finished his work, when the jackhammer stopped working. Mr. Main noticed a panel had opened up due to a loose screw. He touched the panel door to close it and was electrocuted. Mr. Main fell backwards into the water, along with the jackhammer and continued being electrocuted. This essentially paralyzed his body leaving him unable to help himself.

12 year-old Kaden immediately ran inside the home for help and yelled for his step-mother Tanya. Kaden had to run up a small hill and about fifty feet to get to the home.  At this time, Tanya was in the shower when she heard loud screaming before realizing it was Kaden yelling from the first floor. She looked down and saw Kaden repeatedly saying, "Dad is being electrocuted by the jackhammer, dad is being electrocuted.”

Kaden was directed to unplug the jackhammer from an outlet located inside the home. Mrs. Main changed, ran downstairs and told Kaden to find her cell phone and call 911. She then ran outside where she could hear her husband moaning. Once the current was stopped by Kaden unplugging the jackhammer, his father was able to take in deep breaths, and sit upright onto the cement wall. Mrs. Main was able to help him out of the water and onto the grass. Meanwhile, Kaden had located Mrs. Main’s cell phone and dialed 911. He directed dispatchers to their address, told them they were in the backyard, and stated his dad had been electrocuted. Kaden stayed on the phone until police and rescue arrived approximately five minutes later.

Medical personnel checked on Mr. Main, who was having a lot of chest pain, suffering from low oxygen and a fast heartbeat. Mr. Main was transported by ambulance to the hospital for treatment. Undoubtedly, Mr. Main is here today because Kaden was accompanying him, ran for help, unplugged the jackhammer, and calmly directed 911 and emergency rescue crews to his aid.

Today, this young man is being recognized with the Governor’s Outstanding Service Award for his heroic actions that day, which saved the life of his father, Heath Main.

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Kaden_Main
Pictured Left to Right: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, 2011 Iowa State Fair Queen Paris Schnepf, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Kaden Main, Governor Terry E. Branstad.

Jeffrey Laughlin -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Eldon, Iowa

On December 11, 2011, at approximately 9:30 p.m., a motor vehicle accident occurred on Highway 2 in Wayne County.  The vehicle of Ms. Florence Broussard was struck from behind by a semi and burst into flames upon impact.  Jeffrey Laughlin was also traveling down the same highway when he noticed the flames. 
Jeffrey grabbed a fire extinguisher from his semi and proceeded towards the scene.  He attempted to extinguish the fire, but was unsuccessful; the fire was too far along.

Ms. Broussard was still inside the burning vehicle and unconscious. Jeffrey attempted to open the door to remove her.  The driver’s door wouldn't open with the handle so Jeffrey grabbed the door post with his hands and yanked it open.  He then unlatched Ms. Broussard’s seatbelt and removed her from the burning vehicle. Emergency personnel arrived on scene approx. 10 minutes later.

Today, Mr. Jeffrey Laughlin is being recognized with the Governor’s Lifesaving with Valor Award for his heroic actions which saved the life of Ms. Florence Broussard.

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Jeffrey Laughlin
Pictured Left to Right: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, 2011 Iowa State Fair Queen Paris Schnepf, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Jeffrey Laughlin, Governor Terry E. Branstad.

Cameron Peirce -- Meritorious Service Award -- Sioux City, Iowa

Riley Peirce -- Meritorious Service Award -- Sioux City, Iowa

On November 4, 2011 in the early afternoon hours, Mr. Armin Bennet was southbound on Highway 75 operating a pay loader in the right lane.  Mr. Michael Fraser was operating a tractor-trailer unit, also southbound on Highway 75, in the left lane.  As Mr. Fraser was preparing to pass Mr. Bennet, Mr Bennet changed lanes pulling from the right lane into the left lane, in front of Mr. Fraser.  Mr. Fraser was unable to avoid a collision and struck the pay loader, tipping it onto its side.  Mr. Fraser's tractor trailer stayed upright and entered the median.

Twin brothers Riley and Cameron Peirce observed the collision behind them and turned around to offer assistance.  Upon arrival, they found Mr. Fraser in his tractor-trailer unit.  Riley and Cameron both helped to remove Mr. Fraser from the truck and rendered first aid in their vehicle.  Cameron then assisted Mr. Bennet until medical personnel arrived. 

Riley and Cameron were selfless in their decision to render aid to Mr. Bennet and Mr. Fraser. Today, Riley and Cameron Peirce are being awarded Governor’s Meritorious  Service Awards for their assistance rendered to these men during a time of need.

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Cameron Peirce
Pictured Left to Right: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, 2011 Iowa State Fair Queen Paris Schnepf, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Cameron Peirce, Governor Terry E. Branstad. (Not pictured: Riley Peirce)

Rob Evans -- Lifesaving Award -- Waukee, Iowa

On August 22, 2011, at about 5:30 a.m., Mr. and Mrs. Ron Hartman were returning to their residence after dropping their son off at the airport. While traveling westbound on University Ave, Mrs. Hartman began to choke on a sandwich. She immediately began gasping and coughing in efforts to clear the blockage from her throat. She was not having success in doing so. Mr. Hartman quickly brought their vehicle to a stop and activated the emergency hazard flashers.

As Mrs. Hartman continued choking, Mr. Hartman exited the vehicle and went to the passenger side to assist her. Mr. Hartman had his wife exit the vehicle as she continued choking and he attempted the Heimlich maneuver. Not having formal training in the maneuver, Mr. Hartman was unable to expel the food from her airway.

Briefly after he began administering the Heimlich Maneuver, Rob Evans passed by on the eastbound side of University Ave. Rob could see that Mr. Hartman was attempting to conduct the Heimlich maneuver and quickly did a U-turn and pulled up to assist. Rob then verified that Mrs. Hartman was indeed choking and took over the efforts to expel the blockage. Mr. Evans then properly performed the Heimlich maneuver with one swift movement. The blockage was expelled and she was able to continue breathing. 

Today, Mr. Rob Evans is being recognized for his role in properly performing the Heimlich maneuver, thus saving the life of Mrs. Jane Hartman.

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Rob Evans
Pictured Left to Right: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, 2011 Iowa State Fair Queen Paris Schnepf, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Rob Evans, Governor Terry E. Branstad.

Brittany Beaver -- Outstanding Service Award -- Knoxville, Iowa

Jonathan Beaver -- Outstanding Service Award -- Knoxville, Iowa

Kaden Botkin -- Outstanding Service Award -- Knoxville, Iowa

Aaron Huffaker -- Outstanding Service Award -- Knoxville, Iowa

Cody Long -- Outstanding Service Award -- Knoxville, Iowa

On January 30, 2012, at approximately 3:36 p.m., a vehicle was traveling eastbound when it ran a stop sign and collided with a school bus traveling southbound. The bus driver saw the car was not yielding to the stop sign and shouted for everyone to get down.

The car was pushed underneath the bus, partly driven overtop of and spun around before coming to rest in the intersection. The bus spun sideways and rolled one time before coming to rest on its wheels.

Sixteen children were on board when this accident occurred. Due to her injuries, the bus driver was unable to assist the children with exiting the bus. Five kids,  Brittany Beaver, Jonathon Beaver, Kaden Botkin, Aaron Huffaker, and Cody Long, all between the ages of 14 and 16, assisted the rest of the children to safely exit the bus. These individuals assisted by helping to avoid a potentially chaotic scene for emergency personnel by taking charge.

Today, this group is being recognized for their outstanding service when they safely and properly evacuated fellow bus riders following a roll-over collision.

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Beaver, Beaver, Botkin, Huffaker, Long
Pictured Left to Right: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, 2011 Iowa State Fair Queen Paris Schnepf, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Jonathan Beaver, Kaden Botkin, Aaron Huffaker, Brittany Beaver, Cody Long, Governor Terry E. Branstad.

Jonathan McMichael -- Outstanding Service Award -- Wever, Iowa

On July 31, 2011, at approximately 1:35 p.m., Ms. Dianna Pollpeter was preparing to take a friend back to the airport for a return trip to Florida. When the time came to leave, this friend began behaving strangely and making threats towards her. Johnathan McMichael, Ms. Pollpeter’s nephew and two cousins, were sitting on the couch in the living room at this time. 

Ms. Pollpeter started to exit the house when she said, “No, do not touch me!”  This prompted fourteen-year-old Jonathan’s attention and he followed them outside. He witnessed Ms. Pollpeter’s neck being cut with a kitchen knife by the assailant. Johnathan immediately came to the aid of Ms. Pollpeter and pushed away the attacker. He placed himself between the two in an effort to protect Ms. Pollpeter. She was holding her neck to stop the bleeding and was able to escape back inside the house. Johnathan was pushed back and even lunged at during the confrontation with the assailant

Ms. Pollpeter ran inside while the other family members sought a safe place to hide. The assailant found his way back inside the home and laid on a bed with self-inflicted knife wounds. Emergency responders arrived and secured the home.

Today, Johnathan McMichael is being awarded the Governor’s Outstanding Service Award for his heroic actions which saved the life of Ms. Dianna Pollpeter.

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Jonathan McMichael
Pictured Left to Right: Col. Patrick J. Hoye, 2011 Iowa State Fair Queen Paris Schnepf, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Jonathan McMichael, Governor Terry E. Branstad.

 

 

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Created: 02-07-2006
Last Updated: 08-10-2012 (JGL)