The everyday life-saving actions of McFarland police, firefighters and EMTs presented a challenge for department chiefs when narrowing down recipients of the annual service awards. Between the two departments, 33 awards were presented.
Members of the McFarland Police Department and McFarland Fire and Rescue Department were honored at the annual presentation during the Monday, Nov. 25, village board meeting.
“While I’m extremely proud of each and every one of them, and even more proud to serve as their chief, each year there are a handful of actions that based upon the criteria set forth in our awards policy that call for special recognition through the issuance of several awards,” McFarland Police Chief Craig Sherven said.
Awards were presented to Jason Onken, Joel Zietsma and Sgt. Joe Maurer for community involvement.
Onken was honored for leading and managing the Police Explorer Post, bike rodeo, Shop with a Cop, the Citizen’s Academy and the work to learn program.
“Officer Zietsma created and manages the community outreach assistance team, which is a program designed to serve areas of our population that are unserved by other programs, people with unique needs, such as crime victims,” Sherven said.
Zietsma also manages the Are You Ok? program.
Maurer was presented the award for managing the department’s involvement with the community’s Shared Table program. He works to organize the annual department-sponsored community meal that is staffed and provided by department personnel and oversees all department community outreach programs.
Jacob Towns received life saving awards for his involvement in several instances saving or prolonging a person’s life.
On Jan. 7, 2018, Towns responded to a call in which a person was not breathing and had no pulse. He performed life saving measures until relived by medical personnel. His actions prolonged the victim’s life and improved their chances of survival.
“While we generally issue one award per officer per award type, I’d like to make mention that Officer Towns also assisted with two separate incidents in which the deployment of Narcan saved an individual’s life,” Sherven said. “He will receive accommodations for those two incidents.”
Towns and Bryan Wallace responded to a call Feb. 7, 2018, with a person suffering from a drug overdose. The duo performed life saving measures until relieved by medical personnel, improving the victim’s chances of survival.
Wallace also received a life saving award.
On July 19, 2018, Sydney Peterson, Towns and Onken responded to a call in which the person was suffering from an overdose. They performed life saving measures, including administration of naloxone to improve chances of survival.
Peterson, Towns and Onken received life saving awards.
Lt. Brian Redman was awarded the exceptional service award for his assistance with an incident involving elderly couple exhibiting physically and financially harmful behaviors on April 10, 2018.
“Lt. Redman’s involvement in this case and his care for these individuals was infinitely beyond that which was required and the amount of time and effort put into his handling of the situation was truly remarkable,” Sherven said.
Anthony Craft, Onken, Peterson and Bruce Grady received general commendations for their response to a March 25, 2018, call. The four assisted other officers at the Tellurian addiction recovery and mental illness facility in Monona involving an armed suicidal person.
“While this incident had the potential to end very differently, their actions, their restraint and judicial application of their training were instrumental to bringing this situation to a very safe conclusion for all involved,” Sherven said.
Redman received the 25-year years of service award, and Zietsma received the five-year years of service award.
“The actions of these officers exemplify the very spirit and mission of law enforcement and the McFarland Police Department and are deserving recognition,” Sherven said.
The McFarland Fire and Rescue Department followed with awards recognizing their members.
Dennis described choosing recipients as a challenge because of the difference they make in victim’s lives, whether the victim lives or not.
“However, we narrowed it into those situations where the individuals have already gone into cardiac arrest and the action of individuals this evening have actually revived someone and brought them back to life,” Chief Chris Dennis said.
On Jan. 7, 2018, Rescue Crew 84 members Becky Blanke, Danielle Bartz and Ross Williams responded to an adult unconscious male who had gone into cardiac arrest. Crew members took over CPR and provided care. The patient regained a pulse and made a full recovery.
Car 2 members Mitch Cover, Lt. Sam Nepple, Capt. Brian Molenaar and Engine 1 members Davin Blazek, Mark Emmrich, Brian Olson, Nicholas Tuma and Lt. Paul Vind were also awarded for their actions during the incident.
On Nov. 29, 2018, Engine 1 crew received a call for adult male who has having a seizure at local business. They were informed the patient had gone into cardiac arrest, and a bystander was performing CPR.
Crew members determined he had a pulse and began rescue breathing.
The patient went back into cardiac arrest, causing the crew to perform several defibrillation shocks until the patient regained a pulse. He began showing signs of life when being moved into the ambulance and made a full recovery.
“Additionally, it’s a unique case because this is one of the few where we performed dual sequential defibrillation, which is actually the use of two defibrillators on a patient,” Dennis said. “There’s been very few cases this has worked. However, in this case, thanks to the good, quick thinking of our crew, they’re able to save the patient from doing that mechanism.”
Engine 1 crew members Brian Olson, Ross Williams, John Venturino and Capt. Harlan Hettrick were awarded, as well as Blanke and her former partner Tim Holzhauer who has since resigned from the department.