By MARGE WOODFIN
Two emergency medical technicians from Brookings Cal-Ore Life Flight received Medals of Valor from the Oregon Emergency Medical Services Awards Program.
Albert Harrell and Carry Munro, who is currently employed in Hermiston, were recognized Sept. 28 for their efforts in rescuing Gold Beach Dr. Maciey J. Druzdzel after his boat capsized at the mouth of the Rogue River.
Ironically, Dr. Druzdzel is the medical director for the ambulance association.
The Medal of Valor recognizes acts of personal valor or heroism in the delivery of emergency medical care, which results in the saving of a life under extreme conditions and in extraordinary circumstances.
When Harrell won one of the tickets in a drawing at Cal-Ore for two trips to the convention featuring education classes and a banquet, he didnt realize the drawing was rigged in his favor.
He attended the dinner with his wife and the other Cal-Ore drawing winner, Chris Dodson, with no idea he was to be honored.
When they started doing all the awards and then they read the letter Dr. Druzdzel wrote, with the first sentence I put my head in my hands, Harrell said. It was totally unexpected. Everybody knew about it at work and the whole family.
Cal-Ore submitted the names of the two men for the award after Dr. Druzdzel wrote a letter telling of his dramatic rescue, and stating, (these medics) have a special place in my heart.
The statement about the award in The Book of Recognition from the banquet includes, You never know who you will meet during a rescue.
When the two medics reached the rescue area Feb. 25, Dr. Druzdzel was hanging precariously on jetty rocks and his head was hitting the rocks, according to Cal-Ore manager, Dan Brattain.
Our protocol is that we do not go into the water, Brattain said. We are not trained to rescue on the seas. It was a tough decision, but they decided to go down.
The two EMTs managed to let themselves down and get a rope around the victim to hoist him up, saving his life.
Harrell said he has been interested in emergency and fire suppression services since he was in high school.
He has worked for the ambulance company since before it was taken over by Cal-Ore. He received training at Southwestern Oregon Community College and he now instructs some classes at the college.
He also serves as a captain in the Cape Ferrelo Volunteer Fire Department.
I love my job, he said. I really like doing patient care. Our transport time is almost 45 minutes and we can usually see some change (in the patient), hopefully for the better.
He said he helped with the rescues of Carrie Freeman and Sarah Timeus after each girl was involved in a serious auto accident.
Its nice to know I can make a difference in peoples lives.