WAPAKONETA — Some members of Botkins and Wapakoneta Fire Departments (WFD) were awarded Mercy Health Life Flight Network’s Dr. Frank Foss EMS Excellence Award on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at the WFD.
The first responders received the award at the Wapak Fire Department for their lifesaving efforts during a 2019 crash. The annual awards ceremony has been cancelled two years in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the award was handed out locally.
“We were all surprised that we got (the award). We were surprised because this is what we do everyday; this is our standard job. But with the way things are today, there is an effort to recognize first responders for their work,” said Botkins Police Chief/Assistant Fire Chief Tom Glass.
“Their effort and their expertise and abilities that was shown was extraordinary. It was exceptional,” said Lisa Wadsworth, aviation office coordinator with Life Flight Network. “The person who nominated them wanted us to acknowledge that they worked together exceptionally, in an extraordinary type of situation.”
Botkins Fire and Life Flight were called to assist Wapakoneta Fire with a two-vehicle crash, Glass said, on July 8, 2019, involving a semitrailer and a dump truck carrying a load of gravel. Apparently the semi pulled out in front of the dump truck that was turning onto state Route 33 from the northbound Interstate 75 exit ramp. The collision caused the male driver of the dump truck to need to be extricated from the vehicle after he became wedged between the shifted gravel and the semitrailer.
“Due to the severity of the situation, we had to use two sets of jaws-(of-life), from our department and Wapak,” Glass said.
The driver of the dump truck was flown to St. Rita’s Medical Center after he was removed from the truck. The driver of the semi only received minor injuries, Glass said.
Unfortunately, Wadsworth said the driver of the dump truck passed away a few weeks later, but she praised the first responders excellent work in helping to free him and get him transported for treatment.
The Dr. Frank Foss EMS Excellence Award is voted on by members of the Partners for Life committee. This award given to Botkins and Wapakoneta Fire Departments was approved unanimously by the members.
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