Deputies and other staff at the Washington County Sheriff's Office recently nominated several of their peers for recognition during a ceremony at the Historic Courthouse in Stillwater.
"There's great work done at the sheriff's office daily," said Sheriff Bill Hutton, who presented the awards. Those recognized were:
Letter of excellence
Deputy Nick Sullivan: On July 3, 2012, Sullivan responded to a 911 medical call of a woman in labor. She was in a vehicle at a gas station at Interstate 94 and Manning Avenue, where Sullivan helped deliver the baby in the car. The umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck and the baby was turning blue. The baby's grandmother arrived and assisted Sullivan in freeing the baby, who "came around" and started to cry.
Deputy Dan Harjes: A truck driver was last seen in Colorado on Nov. 2, 2010, but didn't arrive in Indiana as scheduled on Nov. 4. Harjes worked with the company to establish routes and then used the driver's cellphone information to track his location. Harjes contacted several agencies to begin a search. The driver was found in severe medical distress in Colorado. "Without your efforts he would have surely died," Sheriff Bill Hutton said.
Deputy Joe Zerwas (two awards): On Aug, 24, 2010, Zerwas took a burglary call in Hugo where a large-screen TV and hundreds of video games were stolen. He investigated and found the home of a potential suspect. Zerwas gained consent to look into a garage and found the stolen TV. A search warrant then was drafted and most of the stolen items were recovered.
On Jan. 26, 2011, about $7,400 worth of saddles and bridles was stolen from a stables in Hugo. On Feb. 1, 2011, while attempting to serve a warrant in Stacy, Zerwas observed a Western saddle in plain view in a bedroom of a residence. The saddle matched the description of one of the stolen saddles. Zerwas researched online and verified the saddle was the one that had been stolen. A search warrant was obtained and an arrest was made. This led to a second warrant and recovery of several more saddles. Several thefts were solved.
Deputy Danelle Erickson: In May 2010, Erickson learned of a situation at Lakeland Elementary School where a student was acting assaultive and intimidating other students to the point that they did not want to attend school. She volunteered to give a presentation on bullying to 50 students and teachers. No further complaints came from the school.
Deputy Nick Loperfido: On June 1, 2011, Loperfido received a call for a burglary in Lake Elmo. After clearing the scene, he continued to work the case. He found a suspect, recovered the stolen property and made an arrest.
Jail Correctional Officer Michael Brant: He worked 12 years with no sick days.
Life saving award
• Deputy Terry Hyde and Deputy Joe Stoehr: On May 3, 2009, deputies were called to a reported suicide. They found a woman in a bathtub, unconscious, not breathing, and bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. A neighbor assisted in pulling her from the tub and the deputies began CPR and applied a shock from an AED. The woman regained consciousness before medics arrived.
• Deputy Andy Loehr and Deputy Brian Krook: On Dec. 25, 2012, deputies responded to a medical call in Lake Elmo. The patient was unconscious, not breathing and CPR was in progress. They arrived and began chest compressions. A shock was given with an AED. Medics arrived and took over care. The patient was admitted to the hospital.
• Explorer Edward Clymer: On Aug. 31, 2010, while eating at the Machine Shed restaurant in Lake Elmo, an older man choked on a piece of meat. Clymer performed the Heimlich maneuver on the victim, dislodging the obstruction.
Letters of commendation
• Sgt. Mike Benson, Deputy Randy Helms, Deputy Justin Kaeding, Deputy Allen Degel and Deputy Shane Linehan: On June 14, 2011, Deputies responded to the robbery of a Super America in White Bear Lake. They played a critical role in the capture of two armed suspects. As a result, the suspects were charged and several other robberies in the metro were solved.
Certificate of appreciation
• Charles Marx, citizen: On April 9, 2012, a Code Red message alerted Scandia residents to a man burglarizing houses in the area. Marx called Deputy Chris Majeski's cellphone to inform him that a vehicle matching the alert had just driven by his home. Because of this call, deputies arrested the suspect.
• Sgt. Wayne Hicks and Sgt. Mike Munson, Hastings Police Department: On Feb. 19, 2011, the officers were removing a fish house from an area lake because of a large snowstorm. Something caught Munson's attention. He turned the vehicle around and found an older man who had crawled into a snowbank. The man had fallen on the roadway and crawled on his knuckles to the snowbank in hopes someone would see him. He also suffered from dementia. Hicks and Munson provided first aid until rescue units arrived.
• Rana Kraftson and Julia Kobilka, citizens: On Dec. 11, 2012, the girls were on a school bus heading to Stillwater High School for ski practice when the bus driver had a medical emergency. He lost consciousness and fell to the floor of the bus. The bus crossed four lanes of traffic and into the ditch. Rana removed the driver's foot from the gas pedal, pressed on the brake and called on the bus radio for help. Julia checked for a pulse and stayed with the driver until help arrived.
• Peter Johnson, assistant Washington County attorney: On Jan. 3, 2013, after observing a prisoner assaulting a Ramsey County deputy and a Washington County deputy in the courthouse, he responded to the scene. The prisoner was fleeing on foot when Johnson threw himself in front of the prisoner, tripping him and allowing deputies to take him into custody.
• Melanie Needham, a citizen: On Sept. 11, 2011, while her husband participated in a triathlon in Stillwater, Needham observed a runner staggering and falling. The runner had hit his head and continued to try to run. She grabbed the victim and tried to keep him in place because he was in distress. She continued to provide aid even after emergency units were on scene. Paramedics credited the cooling down of the runner for probably saving his life.
Meritorious service award
• Sgt. Kyle Schenck: In 2011, Schenck was asked to perform the duties of administrative sergeant for patrol. This assignment includes backfill for sergeants on segment vacations along with administrative duties and special details. Since he was moved into this assignment, the Sheriff's Office has had many injuries that required Schenk to fill open shifts. He continued with all of his regular duties, such as SWAT, and supervising a shift. These schedule changes have been above and beyond what other administrative sergeants have been asked to do.