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Red Cross honors local heroes
4/5/2013 By: By Carole McWilliams
Upper Pine firefighter Brian Leewit was honored for crawling into the huge pile of rubble left after Tim and Karen Kelley’s house exploded north of Lemon reservoir in February 2012.
Several emergency responders and residents from Ignacio and Bayfield La Plata County were honored Wednesday morning at the fifth annual Red Cross Breakfast of Champions heroes awards at the Durango Recreation Center.
Seven-year-old Ethan Rock went into cardiac arrest at around 9 p.m. last July 14 at the Southern Ute Sun Dance. A whole chain of people kept him alive, including his grandmother, Lisa Burch Frost who started CPR on him, Southern Ute Police deputy Joel Flaugh who took over from her, and Los Pinos Fire responders Jim Owens, Tony Stephens, Casey Baker, Seth St. Germain, Mike Valdez, Tyler Gardner, and Max Howard.
They provided advanced care until he was handed off for airlift to Denver.
It turned out that Ethan had a previously undiagnosed congenital heart defect. He now has an internal defibrillator. Lisa Burch Frost said she wants to get her entire family certified in CPR before the next Sun Dance.
Tribal Councilor Al Cloud thanked all the people who saved Ethan. He also thanked CPR trainer and Red Cross board member Robin Duffy-Wirth for all she does for the tribe.
Area Red Cross executive director Cindi Shank urged everyone to get CPR training. "The initial action you take can save a life," she said.
Southern Ute Community Center lifeguards Stephanie Hoselton and Jacob Posey were honored for saving Dan Shepherdson from Arboles, who was swimming laps under water as part of his desire to become a Navy SEAL. He passed out under water. Hoselton and Posey recognized that there was a problem. They hauled him out and started CPR.
Aquatics coordinator Lisa Allen was credited for running lifeguard emergency drills there, including one a month earlier with a "victim" passing out in the same place where Shepherdson did. She received the award for Posey, who was not present.
Jim Cornett, who owns South Street Garage in Bayfield, was honored for "Helping the Helpless," three dogs in a pen attached to a mobile home when a fire broke out in January. He suffered smoke inhalation in the process of rescuing them.
Upper Pine firefighter Brian Leewit was honored for crawling into the huge pile of rubble left after Tim and Karen Kelley's house exploded north of Lemon reservoir in February 2012. He located the Kelleys under the rubble and helped extricate them.
Shank said Leewit faced significant danger from secondary collapse of the rubble. It was dark and cold. He was in the rubble for about an hour and a half, she said.
Other honorees were Durango Fire & Rescue, plaque accepted by Shane Baird, and La Plata Search and Rescue, whose responders saved a Durango man who fell while climbing near Silverton; David Longenette and Robert Taylor, who used an automatic defibrillator to resuscitate a tourist in Durango last summer; and a Community Hero award to Erika Pray, who organizes disk golf fundraisers for the Red Cross.
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