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Recognition Awards

 

2013 LIFESAVING AWARD HONOREES

Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad recognized 18 individuals for unselfish service to their fellow citizens and family members on August 16, 2013 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 of 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
Kevin P. Kavanaugh -- Meritorious Service -- Donahue, Iowa
Katherhan S. Hitchcock -- Lifesaving -- Taylor Ridge, Illinois
Joel D. Catour, Jr. -- Lifesaving -- Moline, Illinois
Amy Twohey -- Lifesaving -- Mitchellville, Iowa
Nathan Waikel -- Lifesaving -- Iowa City, Iowa
Kristen Lehker -- Meritorious Service -- Monona, Wisconsin
Darryl Brink -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Waukon, Iowa
Janet Schroeder -- Meritorious Service -- Waukon, Iowa
Keith Schroeder -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Waukon, Iowa
Justin Hager -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Waukon, Iowa
John DeBacher -- Lifesaving with Valor
Jacob DeBacher -- Meritorious Service
Walker Hovey -- Lifesaving with Valor
Marie E. James -- Meritorious Service
Aaron Hansen -- Governor’s Lifesaving Award -- Urbandale, Iowa
Nicholas Schroeder -- Meritorious Service -- Ames, Iowa
   

Kevin P. Kavanaugh -- Meritorious Service -- Donahue, Iowa
Katherhan S. Hitchcock -- Lifesaving -- Taylor Ridge, Illinois
Joel D. Catour, Jr. -- Lifesaving -- Moline, Illinois

On December 29, 2012, contractor Randall Struck was directing the relocation of a suspended load using a lull machine to move the bundle.  Mr. Struck was front of the moving machine when he unexpectedly tripped or twisted his ankle.  This caused Mr. Stuck to slow down.  The lull machine however, continued forward.  The tires of the lull machine ran over Mr. Struck’s foot and then his leg, completely crushing the leg causing a compound fracture.

While others were frightened by the incident, Tri-City Electric Company employees Joel Catour, Katie Hitchcock, and Kevin Kavanaugh leapt into action. The trio made a tourniquet from a belt and pocket knife and applied pressure to slow down the rapid loss of blood. They worked diligently to keep Mr. Struck conscious until the emergency crew arrived.

Miraculously, Mr. Struck was released from the Intensive Care Unit and is on his way to recovery.  Without the fast actions of Joel Catour, Katie Hitchcock, and Kevin Kavanaugh, Mr. Struck might not have survived the horrendous accident.

For their actions in saving the life of Mr. Struck, Joel Catour and Katie Hitchcock are being awarded the Governor’s Lifesaving Award.  Kevin Kavanaugh is being awarded the Meritorious Service Award.

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Amy Twohey -- Lifesaving -- Mitchellville, Iowa

On November 7, 2012, Mitchellville Elementary teacher Amy Twohey noticed that one of her students had fallen off of the monkey bars during recess. First-grader Nathan Clement had fallen so hard, several inches of bone from his upper arm was sticking out through his shirt and he was bleeding profusely.

Amy immediately called 911 and then started applying pressure to Nathan’s arm.  Thanks to Amy’s quick thinking and fast reactions, an ambulance arrived on scene less than four minutes after she noticed Nathan lying on the ground.  

Nathan’s doctors praised Amy for quickly responding and requesting help.  Doctors indicated that Amy’s efforts to slow the child’s blood loss, paired with her calming presence during this event, quite possibly saved Nathan’s life.

On a positive note, the doctors were able to save Nathan’s arm and with long-term physical therapy, he should regain 100% of the movement and usage of the arm.

Today, Ms. Amy Twohey is being awarded the Governor’s Lifesaving Award for her quick response and calming manner during a crisis.

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Nathan Waikel -- Lifesaving -- Iowa City, Iowa

On December 30, 2012, Brad and Jennifer Franzwa, and their two children, five year old Claire and three year old Nate were sledding at the Brown Deer Golf Course in Coralville, Iowa.

Claire and Nate were riding a sledding tube down the gradual slopes of the golf course with their parents following close behind. At one point, an unknown subject gave the children’s sledding tube a light push down a very large hill.  Nate and Clair’s sledding tube began picking up speed and veered off course.  Soon the children were heading toward Muddy Creek, which had iced over.  Toward the bottom of the sledding hill and near the banks of the creek, Claire fell off of the tube on solid ground.  Nate however, was launched into the air and landed in the icy frigid water of Muddy Creek.

Fourteen year old Nathan Waikel, along with his family, was on a small wooden foot bridge over Muddy Creek and witnessed the three year old as he landed in the water.  Without hesitation, Nathan entered the creek and made his way through the waist-deep, icy water.  He quickly stopped three year old Nate from being completely submerged and carried him out of the creek and into the hands of his anxious parents.

Today, Nathan Waikel is being awarded the Governor’s Lifesaving Award for his courageous act in pulling Nate Franzwa out of the icy waters of the creek following the child’s wild snow tube ride down the hill. Nathan Waikel’s actions saved the life of Nate Franzwa.

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Kristen Lehker -- Meritorious Service -- Monona, Wisconsin
Darryl Brink -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Waukon, Iowa
John DeBacher -- Lifesaving with Valor
Jacob DeBacher -- Meritorious Service
Janet Schroeder -- Meritorious Service -- Waukon, Iowa
Keith Schroeder -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Waukon, Iowa
Justin Hager -- Lifesaving with Valor -- Waukon, Iowa
Walker Hovey --
Lifesaving with Valor

On August 26, 2012 Patrick John Egan, Jr. along with his father and two sons, were traveling northbound on Hwy 76.  During the trip, a southbound truck crossed the center line and struck the Egan family head-on.  The violent collision disabled both vehicles and fatally injured the driver of the southbound truck.  The children, Dustin Egan and Lance Egan, exited the right side of their father’s truck.  Patrick John Egan Jr. and Patrick Francis Egan, Sr. however, were both pinned into the driver’s side and could not exit their vehicle.

Justin Hager, Keith Schroeder and John DeBacher were among the first to arrive on-scene.  These men attempted to pry open the doors and free Pat Sr. and Pat Jr. as the smoke and heat from the other truck was building.  At the same time, Jacob DeBacher, Kristin Lehker, and Janet Schroeder escorted Lance and Dustin Egan away from the burning vehicle.

Despite the additional assistance of Darryl Brink and Walker Hovey, attempts to free the elder Egan men from the vehicle were unsuccessful.

At this point, flames were visible in the engine compartment of the truck.  With this knowledge, the group decided to try and pull the Egan vehicle away from the other burning truck.  With no thought of danger to themselves the men hooked up Hovey's truck to the Egan truck.  Hovey drug the Egan truck a safe distance from the burning vehicle.  Hager indicated that at this point the other truck was fully engulfed in flames.

Emergency personnel arrived on the scene and used the Jaws of Life to extricate Patrick John Egan and Patrick Francis Egan from their truck.

Today, Darryl Brink, Keith Schroeder, and Justin Hager are all being awarded the Governor’s Lifesaving Award for their heroic actions on August 26, 2012. Walker Hovey could not be in attendance today.

Today, Kristen Lehker and Janet Schroeder, are being awarded the Governor’s Meritorious Service Award for their actions on August 26, 2012.  John De Bacher and Jake De Bacher, could not be in attendance today.

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Aaron Hansen -- Governor’s Lifesaving Award -- Urbandale, Iowa
Marie E. James --
Meritorious Service

On May 17, 2013, Marie E. James observed that eight year old Ariya Parker had been near the bottom of an apartment complex pool for several minutes.  Ms James alerted Aaron J. Hansen to Ariya’s location.  Mr. Hansen swam to the bottom of the pool and brought the girl to the surface.  Ms. James and Mr. Hansen rolled Ariya onto her side, and she began to spit up water.

When Officer Jacob Cameron of the Urbandale Police Department arrived at the pool, Ariya was breathing, but unresponsive.  EMS arrived on scene and took over treatment, transporting Ariya to Mercy Hospital.

Through their heroic and quick thinking, Ms. James and Mr. Hansen saved Ariya’s life.  Mr. Hansen will be receiving the Governor’s Lifesaving award for his brave and swift actions in rescuing Ariya from the bottom of the pool.  Ms. James will be receiving the meritorious service award for her critical observation that Ariya had been at the bottom of the pool for quite some time.

Congratulations to Aaron Hansen.  Marie James could not be in attendance today.

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Nicholas Schroeder -- Meritorious Service -- Ames, Iowa

On the night of March 3, 2013, Urbandale Police Department intern Nicholas Schroeder was on a ride-along with Officer Zac McDowell.   Officer McDowell and Schroeder responded to a 911 call that indicated a vehicle had crashed and was on fire. At the scene, they observed the vehicle burst into flames, sending heavy smoke into the compartment of the vehicle.

Officer McDowell and Schroeder approached the burning vehicle from the passenger’s side trying to ascertain if the vehicle held any occupants. Officer McDowell gained access and vented the smoke through the open door. Officer McDowell then retrieved a fire extinguisher while Schroeder entered the passenger side of the vehicle. Officer McDowell felt for and found a hand, and pulled the driver, Ian Waseskuk, from the burning car. While Officer McDowell was searching for other occupants, Schroeder pulled Waseskuk further away from the burning vehicle.

An investigation into the incident revealed the crash occurred when the driver of the car was performing “donuts” in the parking lot and lost control of the vehicle, striking the building’s air conditioning unit. Mr. Waseskuk has since made a full recovery.

Today, Nicholas Schroeder is being recognized for his bravery while assisting Officer McDowell save Mr. Waseskuk from severe injuries or even death.  Nicholas Schroeder is being awarded the meritorious service award.

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Created: 02-07-2006
Last Updated: 08-15-2013 (JGL)