Archive for Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Our view: Local boy’s rescuers deserve city’s thanks

June 15, 2005

What a fortunate turn of events.

When Tammie McCutchen, a Tonganoxie firefighter, went outside through the back door of her station on a recent Wednesday morning, she heard a scream for help from nearby Tonganoxie Creek.

The creek, normally a slow moving meandering little bit of a stream, was rocking and rolling, swollen by recent rains.

Apparently, 15-year-old Brian Eveland and his bicycle had been swept into the creek as Eveland tried to cross on a low-water bridge. But Tonganoxie Creek on June 1 was anything but low-water.

McCutchen swung into action, alerting other firefighters and rescue workers to Eveland's life-threatening predicament.

It was tense times. And it's fortunate that Eveland's tumble into the creek occurred where someone could hear his pleas for help and where someone knew exactly how to react.

Other firefighters moved quickly to begin their rescue efforts.

Eveland, who was clinging to a tree as the water pushed at him, was pulled to safety after firefighters formed a human chain with a rope and looped a life jacket over him.

"This was a very intense situation," Fire Chief Dave Bennett said after the rescue.

He, clearly, was proud of the work that his firefighters did that day.

"They never stop amazing me, what they do for me, what they do for the community," Bennett said. "They saved that boy's life today."

On Monday night, Tonganoxie City Council members applauded the rescuers' work.

In addition to McCutchen and Bennett, these city employees were recognized for their role in snatching Eveland from the creek: Capt. John Callaghan, Lt. Joe Peel, firefighter Josh Domann, firefighter Eric Lang, Capt. Jim "Moe" McCutchen, firefighter Robbie Trieb, public works superintendent Butch Rodgers and police Sgt. Billy Adcox.

These folks deserve a pat on the back for what they did. And most of them will tell you it was all part of the job they're expected to perform.

And they would be correct.

But that doesn't mean the community doesn't appreciate them, and so many others like them who, by just doing their jobs or by just being good friends or good parents, truly are heroes.

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