SOUTHINGTON — Six community members received civilian commendations from the Southington Fire Department Wednesday at an awards ceremony.
“Emergency services is a team effort,” Battalion Chief Glenn Dube said from the stage of the Derynoski Elementary School auditorium, involving the fire and police departments, medical responders, “and, in many cases, civilians who chose to put themselves in harm’s way to assist someone in need.”
The fire department presented citizen commendations to Southington residents Anthony Mauro, Donald Stewart, Adam Byczynski, John Miller and Tammy Najam, and special recognitions to Southington Police Sgt. Jeff Ward and Officers Lauren Verab, Chris Lamarre, Dave Schneider and Joseph Grigerek, for their roles in helping a car crash victim last spring.
Around 2 a.m. on May 21, emergency crews responded to Savage Street near Meriden Avenue after a rollover crash that critically injured one woman, who was partially ejected through the windshield and trapped underneath the vehicle.
“Prior to the arrival of the fire department and AMR ambulance,” Dube said, “a group of civilians and police officers worked as team to push the vehicle just enough to remove the driver from underneath her vehicle.”
Once fire, police and medical crews arrived and began stabilizing her injuries, “the remaining civilians and police officers continued to hold the unstable vehicle, preventing it from rolling over onto rescuers and the patient.”
Dube said their actions likely saved the woman’s life, who was airlifted to Hartford Hospital.
The fire department also presented a citizen commendation to Amy Arnold, a critical care nurse at the Hospital of Central Connecticut, New Britain General and Bradley Memorial campuses, who provided emergency medical care to a critically injured man at the scene of a crash.
Around 7:50 p.m. on Sept. 15, emergency crews responded to a collision of a car and motorcycle on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike near the Hop Knot restaurant. The motorcyclist’s injuries were so severe that a leg amputation was required eventually.
Arnold was across the street, working with a personal training client at Rugged Fitness, Arnold said, and left to assist the injured motorcyclist. An anonymous member of the military also stopped to assist and gave Arnold a tourniquet. The service member left without being identified.
“She applied the tourniquet to the injured man’s leg, stopping the life-threatening blood loss,” Dube said.
The motorcyclist’s family greeting Arnold onstage, presenting her with flowers and other gifts. Arnold’s husband, Peter Arnold, and their children Matthew, 6, and Catherine, 2, attended the ceremony.
Arnold said she felt she did what needed to be done at the scene of the crash.
“I didn’t know what happened, I just heard all these people screaming,” Arnold said. “I just kept thinking to myself, ‘just keep him awake.’”
She said she also thought about a friend who also had lost a leg in a motorcycle crash.
“I just kept thinking about him while this incident was going on,” she said. “That was a big push for me to do everything I could to make sure that (the motorcyclist) was OK.”
The ceremony also honored eight recently inducted firefighters, six internal promotions, six community members with civilian commendations, five first responders, 21 department members with service awards in five-year increments.
Michael Bunko, chairman of the board of fire commissioners, said the ceremony recognized “numerous (fire department) members of who, without warning, faced the risk and responded with courage, intelligence and the instinctive reflex to do the right thing, and perform extraordinarily and often under duress.”
“We know that the town of Southington is well-served with you in our ranks,” Bunko said.