John Haynes thinks he saved his 8-year-old friend's life. But the 10-year-old probably didn't know it at the time.
The Aurora Academy fourth grader was with his friend at Nickelworld in South Toledo on New Year's Day and looked away to play a game.
When he looked back, his friend - who was celebrating his birthday - was gone.
So John went looking for him. He told his friend's mom and checked the restroom, where he could barely open the door. John saw his buddy and asked him if he was all right. His friend said he was stuck in there with a stranger.
"I said, 'Oh, really?' Then I closed the door and ran," John said yesterday. "I told his mom that someone was trying to kidnap him, I thought."
The mother forced her way into the restroom and found her son being sexually assaulted by a 15-year-old boy with prior sex-crime convictions. Police later learned the teenager intended to do additional bodily harm to the boy.
"I think it was kind of cool [John] noticed [his friend's disappearance] so quick," the victim's mother said. "He knows I appreciate what he did. I'm proud of him."
So are John's 20 or so relatives who plan to attend a ceremony today during which police will recognize him and dozens of other people for acts that helped others.
People such as Ebony Jones and her mother, Jeanetta, who pulled a teenage neighbor with a broken leg through a window to help her escape from her burning home in North Toledo.
Ebony Jones first noticed the Feb. 9 situation when she saw a crutch thrown out the window. "I just couldn't leave her," the 25-year-old nursing assistant said.
Tom McNary was driving to his Jerusalem Township home Feb. 17 when he saw police cars and officers in the median on I-75.
Officers were trying to arrest a man, who punched one of them in the face.
Mr. McNary stopped, got out, and tackled the suspect.
"I was just in the right place at the right time and everybody else seemed out of position," the 46-year-old shop foreman said.
Citizens and police officers will be honored during the 9 a.m. ceremony in Toledo City Council Chambers in Government Center, downtown.
At noon, during the Toledo Area Police Memorial Service on the Civic Center Mall, area law enforcement officers will remember those colleagues killed in the line of duty.
The Lucas County Prosecutor's Office will be recognized during the morning ceremony for its work that led to the conviction of Catholic priest Gerald Robinson in the 26-year-old murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl.
That's also when John, the Joneses, and Mr. McNary will receive meritorious public service awards. Others to receive the award are:
●Debbie Leffler for giving medical assistance to victims of an accident May 4, 2005, until emergency personnel arrived.
●Walter Myers for giving police dispatch a description of four burglary suspects at his neighbor's house and following them to the Southwyck Shopping Center parking lot, where they were arrested May 18, 2005.
●Susan Fain, Melissa MacDonald, Jeanette Mueller, and Jennifer Stachura for chasing a purse-snatcher June 4. They held him until a nearby store manager arrived. While held in the manager's office, the suspect pulled out a box cutter and threatened the manager, who got control of the weapon.
●Joanie Schilling, youth pastor; Becky King, Sunday school teacher, and the children of Maumee United Methodist Church for collecting $70 and more than 175 teddy bears last May for the police's Care Bear Program. Police give the bears to children, such as those in accidents.
●Gregory Muncey for chasing two suspects trying to break into his neighbor's front window June 8. He pounded on the door, causing the suspects inside to flee. He tackled one suspect and held him for police. He gave a description of the second suspect, who was arrested later.
●Tim Fecht and Brian Becker for catching two suspects who grabbed the purse of Mr. Becker's mother and knocked her to the ground June 9.
●John Connor for calling 911 after he spotted a suspect who slipped out of handcuffs in the back of a police car, got into the front seat, and drove off June 14. Mr. Connor heard the incident on his police scanner and rode his bike to Ottawa Park, where he saw the suspect.
●Deondre Caston for removing two young children and himself from a house that was on fire before emergency personnel arrived July 1.
●Richard McLaughlin, Brian Frankforther, and Brandy Phillips for chasing a man who assaulted a female and grabbed her purse Aug. 7. Mr. Frankforther and Ms. Phillips gave police the suspect's description and followed him. The suspect was arrested later.
●Diane Bensman for taking the license plate number of a vehicle in front of her home Aug. 12 and calling 911 with the number and vehicle description when she saw a suspect with a bag running to the vehicle. Police stopped the vehicle and four occupants were arrested for aggravated robbery.
●Kevin Kipker, a Blade distribution manager, and Jerry Rozanski, a Blade delivery person, for seeing a pile of newspapers on the porch of a home Sept. 10 and notifying police. Officers saw the occupant lying on the floor and entered the home. The occupant went to the hospital and made a full recovery.
●Jeffrey Streeter and Lionel Hueston, a bank security guard, for chasing a bank robber Dec. 19, tackling him, and holding him for police.
●Andy Roth and Richard Ruth for chasing and catching a man who stole a woman's purse from her shopping cart Dec. 18.
●Kelli Lykins for putting a baby monitor inside a church across the street that had been broken into several times. On Jan. 10, she heard breaking glass through the monitor and called 911. Neighbors secured the church and police found a suspect hiding in a crawl space.
●Gary Delong for tackling a suspect police were chasing Jan. 27. The suspect was arrested for drug possession and burglary.
●Matt Nicholas for following a bank robber Feb. 14 and jotting down the license plate number and descriptions of the robber and his vehicle.
●Laquan Smith for ordering a man who grabbed a female's purse and dragged her down the sidewalk to stop and drop the purse April 10. The suspect complied, and Mr. Smith held him until police arrived.
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