HEROES CELEBRATED. Local first responders honored two Bement students and a community member for their courageous life-saving efforts at a special ceremony held on Friday. Pictured are (front row) Megan McCullough, Simon McCullough, and Luke Smith. (Back row) Michelle Watzlawick, Bement EMT; Ethan Leynes, Kirby Ambulance; Brittany Benson, Bement Firefighter; Michael Gregory, Bement Fire Lieutenant; Lyndsey Bross, School Resource Officer/Deputy Piatt County Sheriff’s Office; Tony Price, Bement Fire Chief; Kyle Rogers, Bement Fire Chief; and Tyler Shonkwiler, Assistant Bement Fire Chief.
On Friday, January 26 the Bement School District held a ceremony honoring two students and a Bement resident for their lifesaving efforts the previous week.
Seventh grader Megan McCullough along with her fifth grade brother Simon and community member Luke Smith were presented certificates of commendation and Life Saving awards by Michelle Watzlawick, EMT for the Bement Fire Protection District.
As the siblings were walking home from school on Friday, January 19 they heard a cry of distress from a man yelling for help and found him as he had fallen on his steps and was face down in the snow, unable to get up. With the temperature around 9 degrees and a 26-mph blowing wind, the windchill ranged between 9 and 12 degrees below zero and he was not dressed appropriately for the harsh cold weather.
The siblings knew he needed to get inside but he was too heavy for them to handle, so they waved down Luke Smith as he was driving home from the grocery store to help. Smith then called 911.
Once they got him inside, they warmed him up with warm paper towels on his hands, drying him with bath towels, and wrapping warm blankets around him.
When Watzlawick arrived on the scene the man was already improving. She stated, “Had they not stepped up and gotten some help and gotten him inside, he would have had a much less positive outcome, one way or the other,” she said. “He probably would’ve had some more physical ramifications from it. … It could have been a lot more tragic ending.”
Before presenting the awards Watzlawick defined courage as the ability to control your fear in a dangerous or difficult situation and bravery as the quality or state of having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty.
Megan McCullough said, “We were scared and overwhelmed because we didn’t really know what to do.”
“Once we did get him inside, they were rubbing warm blankets on his hands and doing everything I said while I was trying to get a hold of the EMS,” Smith stated.
Several family and community members were in attendance along with Village President Pat Tieman.
Smith said the elderly man has recovered and they keep in contact.