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Published: Thursday, 4/20/2006

Area panel for safety to honor 12 for heroism

BY VANESSA WINANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A dozen people will be honored tonight by the Safety Council of Northwest Ohio for their acts of heroism in 2005.

When Don Christie saw the canoe in a neighbor's pond tip over the evening of June 22, he ran toward the pond, dove in, and rescued 3-year-old Katie Shadoan. But Mr. Christie, of Ottawa County's Benton Township, could not save Katie's grandfather, who had been clinging to the overturned craft.

Wayne Shadoan, 65, of Martin, Ohio, was pronounced dead that night at the site on Schiller Road in Benton Township after divers from the Ottawa County sheriff's underwater recovery team pulled him from the 16-foot-deep pond.

"I just don't think he was able to hang on," Mr. Christie said at the time. "I wish I could have gotten to him sooner."

He said he ran about 300 yards to the pond after seeing the 13-foot canoe flip about 8 p.m.

"I could see Wayne hanging onto the side of the boat," Mr. Christie said. "He was yelling for Katie to swim. She was probably about four to five feet away from the boat. ... I jumped in and got closer to her, and she'd go under and come up, go under and come up. I got to her and she didn't fight at all, thank goodness. Her eyes were open and she was coherent."

After making sure Katie was safe, Mr. Christie swam back toward the boat and Mr. Shadoan.

"I was going to try to get him to hang onto the boat and just push the boat back in to where it was shallow," he said. "Once he let go, I dived down but I couldn't find him."

In September, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources gave Mr. Christie an Award of Valor.

A trio of police officers from Tiffin pulled an unconscious man from a gas-filled house after a fight that left another man dead. At 4:10 a.m. Oct. 31, Officers Scott McDole, Vern Keefe, and Jake DeMonte responded to a report of a fight between Donald Null and Claude Nighswander, 51.

Mr. Nighswander, who had been beaten with a hammer, was unconscious on the living room floor, apparently overcome by natural gas fumes from a gas line to a kitchen stove that apparently had been broken or knocked loose during the altercation, police Chief David LaGrange said.

The officers forced their way inside and soon began choking on the gas fumes, Officer McDole said yesterday. They took turns dragging Mr. Nighswander to safety, each working until the fumes became too intense.

They found Null staggering out the home's front door, bleeding from self-inflicted injuries, Chief LaGrange said. Though the gas could have ignited and exploded, the officers didn't think about it - until later.

"In the heat of the moment, it never entered my mind," Officer McDole said. "Afterward, we had time to think about what happened, and that's when it dawned on us. It could have been disastrous."

The three received their department's Medal of Valor in December.

On the afternoon of Feb. 12, 2005, James Seaman, then an Oak Harbor police officer, pulled an unconscious man from a burning house.

Reaching the home before the fire department, the officer found Dennis Nowak, 66, lying next to a recliner near the door.

"When I got there, the door was already open," Mr. Seaman said at the time. "I went in and found the gentleman on the floor unconscious. And I just pulled him out on the front porch."

Mr. Nowak did not survive.

"The training just took over," Mr. Seaman said. "The adrenaline was going, and I was just trying to get my job done. It's only afterward that you have the sorrow for losing someone."

Mr. Seaman resigned from the department in May.

Heroism Award recipients are:

●●Ottawa Hills police Sgt. Michelle Miller, who pulled Benjamin Trumbull from a burning vehicle on West River Road that was involved in a car crash Jan. 14, 2005.

●●Mike McGeorge of Toledo, who rescued Helen Mays from a burning house on Hanson Street in East Toledo on Jan. 15, 2005.

●●Ottawa County sheriff's Deputy Kevin Meek, who helped rescue two people drifting in Lake Erie and couldn't get ashore on July 26, 2005.

●●Robert Burke, formerly of Defiance who lives in Colorado, who rescued Mohammid Nard from a house fire in Defiance on Sept. 11, 2005.

●●Michael Scofield of Rossford, who rescued two people from a car crash in the Toledo area on Sept. 17, 2005.

●●Toledo police Officer Thomas Ford, who rescued a woman when her oxygen tank caught fire in her Manley Road home Sept. 20, 2005.

●●Gregory Wilson of Luckey, Ohio, who helped rescue Ann Rogers from a car crash on State Rt. 51 on Nov. 9, 2005.

Good Samaritan Awards were given in recognition of life-saving actions on behalf of another person to:

●●George Kuehnl III of Sylvania, for his outstanding service to his neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Larry Gross when he alerted them to a fire at their house on Rudyard Road on April 20, 2005.

●●Kristin Gerwin of Fremont, for rescuing Clifford Snyder from the second floor of a house on fire on June Street in Fremont on April 24, 2005.

●●Mandy Hansen of Curtice, for administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation on her grandfather, Bob Ferguson, in their home on May 6, 2005.

●●Marcia Van Dusen of Waterville, for administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a man on U.S. 24 west of Dutch Road in Waterville Township on May 6, 2005.

●●Nicole Paquin of Toledo; Nik Tippery of Oregon, and Cheryl Baker of Temperance, who rescued Greg Paquin from drowning at Maumee Bay State Park on Sept. 3, 2005.

●●Julie Devlin of Sylvania, who pulled an unconscious Deladem King from the bottom of the New England Lane swimming pool in Sylvania on Sept. 3, 2005.

Certificates of appreciation, for recognition of acts above and beyond the call of duty, were given to:

●●Toledo firefighters Richard Doran, Robert Siebenaler, Roger Swan, Timothy Treadway, and Lt. John Wysong for responding to an unconscious and unresponsive Arthur Swearengen on East Crawford Avenue on Feb. 1, 2005.

●●Ohio Highway Patrol Trooper Nate Towns, of the Walbridge post, for arresting a bank robber fleeing from a Perrysburg Huntington Bank branch on Feb. 15, 2005.

●●Sylvania police Officer Philip Gallup for administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Debbie McCoy on Feb. 23, 2005.

●●Maumee police Officers Steve Crowe, Scott Russell, and Robert York, who came to the rescue of four children who were trapped on a sandbar surrounded by ice in the Maumee River on Feb. 15, 2005.

●●Toledo firefighters James Hauden and John Kaminski for their rescue efforts when they found an unconscious person in an apartment building fire in the 3000 block of Densmore Drive on Feb, 26, 2005.

●●Toledo firefighter Alan Skomer for responding to and assisting a person in distress on the Anthony Wayne Bridge on April 26, 2005.

●●Lucas County sheriff's Deputies Charles Broshious, Mark Lair, Greg Redlin, and Mike Sewell and Oregon police Sgt. Ken Reno for administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation to Oregon police Chief Thomas Gulch, after he went into cardiac arrest in a Toledo courthouse on May 9, 2005.

●●Ottawa County sheriff's Sgt. Gary Gregg for rescuing Chris and William Wegert from Lake Erie at Crane Creek State Park on July 26, 2005.

●●Toledo firefighters Michael DeWood, Sally Finch, and Wayne Hartford, who responded to a victim of a throat slashing in the 500 block of Lewis Avenue on Aug. 23, 2004.

●●Perrysburg police Officers Christine Chase and Jeffrey Graham, who performed life-saving first aid on Brent Hall on Wind Breeze Drive in Toledo on Oct. 14, 2005.

●●Sycamore police Chief Jim Brezina; Trooper Jeffrey Conley of the Ohio Highway Patrol's Bucyrus post; Wyandot County sheriff's Lt. Neal Riedlinger, and Sycamore police Sgt. Dave Zeis for performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the Rev. Roy Howell at a senior citizen center in Sycamore on Nov. 23, 2005.

●●Putnam County sheriff's Deputy Kevin Siefker, who apprehended a person fleeing the police in Ottawa, Ohio, on Dec. 19, 2004.

●●Hancock County sheriff's Dispatcher Mary Lute for giving outstanding service to a teenager by giving her instructions that kept her safe during a house fire in Findlay on Dec. 20, 2005.



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