As part of Heroes Day 2013 on Thursday, Oct. 17, people across the Southern Arizona community are invited to say “thank you” to first responders for the work they do all year long.
Now in its sixth year, the annual event recognizes law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, Border Patrol agents and other first responders who work to keep the community safe and help citizens in times of crisis.
Among Heroes Day festivities, a complimentary breakfast or lunch is available for first responders at five Jack Furrier Tire & Auto Care locations from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The public is invited to stop by any of the participating stores – 5852 E. Speedway Blvd., 8080 E. 22nd St., 4291 W. Ina Road, 3002 N. First Ave., and 7846 N. Oracle Road – on Oct. 17 to sign “thank you” banners or to drop off personal notes of appreciation to first responders.
In addition, a press conference honoring the three “Hero of the Year” award recipients for 2013 starts at 9:30 a.m. at the La Encantada shopping center, 2905 E. Skyline Drive. It’s preceded by a free breakfast for first responders at nearby Armitage restaurant. Peter Rhee, MD, chief of trauma, critical care and emergency surgery at The University of Arizona Medical Center, is the keynote speaker.
This year’s Hero of the Year award honorees are:
- Michael Schick, a U.S. Border Patrol supervisor, who risked his life rescuing three people abandoned in the trunk of a car that burst into flames after it crashed into a barbed wire fence in the desert while being pursued by Border Patrol agents. After calling the Tohono O’odham Fire Department, he tried to put out the blaze, which had spread to nearby brush, with an extinguisher. Moments after the rescue, the vehicle’s gas tank exploded.
- Jason Hamilton, a Southwest Ambulance emergency medical technician (EMT), who on his way home after a 24-hour shift working a mass casualty incident on I-10 noticed a car being driven erratically, then crashing into a guardrail. As the vehicle teetered over the rail with a wash below, he pulled the elderly female driver from it and performed CPR with the assistance of a nurse on the scene until a Drexel Heights Fire crew arrived to take over.
- Dan Rowan, a Marana Police Department officer and retired New York City firefighter and 9/11 survivor from Lower Manhattan’s Engine 33/Ladder 9, who saved the life of a woman intent on killing herself. He noticed her car parked near a pecan grove and checked on her but didn’t feel right about her response that she simply pulled over to rest – so returned later to find her unconscious and unresponsive with prescription narcotics and alcohol hidden in the car. He gave her first aid until paramedics arrived and she could be taken to a hospital for medical and psychological care.
Honorable Mention for outstanding service and commitment to community improvement also go to:
- David Beasley, Technical Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
- Daniel Cramblit, Firefighter/EMT, Drexel Heights Fire District, Station 401
- Joshua Oletski, Agent, U.S. Border Patrol, Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station
Heroes Day was started in 2008 to honor Tucson Police Officer Erik Hite, who was shot and killed after responding to a Tucson residential shooting, and to thank law enforcement members who serve the state and put their lives at risk every day.
The event is a volunteer effort put on by Jack Furrier Tire & Auto Care as the premier sponsor in partnership with The University of Arizona Medical Center to benefit the UAMC Trauma Center. Donations on behalf of the trauma center will be accepted at the event. Please come by to say “thank you” and support the only Level I trauma center in Southern Arizona.
About The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus
This Tucson academic medical center is consistently listed among the nation’s top hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s prestigious “Best Hospitals” rankings. For four years, including 2012, it also was named a Top 10 Leader in Quality by the University HealthSystem Consortium. It operates the only Level I Trauma Center in Southern Arizona.