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Ten local heroes in right place, right time

Post by Matt Misterek / The News Tribune on Dec. 10, 2009 at 8:10 pm with 3 Comments »
December 10, 2009 8:10 pm

The South Sound region does not lack for people admired as heroes. Recently, four fallen Lakewood police officers have taken the role. Many soldiers from Fort Lewis, living and dead, have worn the label.

Each year, the American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter presents a new class of Red Cross Real Heroes, nominated by community members. This year’s cast of 10 local recipients includes law enforcement rescuers, children saving their father from an insect sting, a boy saving his cousin from choking on a Puyallup Fair corndog, and a pair of school bus incidents.

They were honored at a Dec. 4 breakfast in downtown Tacoma.

Cameron Lefler, King County Sheriff’s deputy
Law enforcement hero

Lefler responded to a July 3 call involving a missing rafter on the Green River near Flaming Geyser State Park, not far from Auburn.

It was almost 8:30 p.m. and getting dark. Searchers used infrared sensors to identify a hot spot downriver and directed Lefler to the location.

Flashlight in hand, wading in water up to his waist, he found the man nearly unconscious, showing signs of extreme hypothermia and unable to walk. Lefler carried the 160-pound man on his back for more than half a mile in the dark, through the water and the woods, to the waiting ambulance.

To read a previous News Tribune story about the incident, click here.

Andrea Dever and
Clayton Steffen of Fife
Fire rescue heroes

Clayton Steffen was looking out his kitchen window in Fife last month when he saw smoke pouring out of his neighbor’s home, a small converted garage. Worried about his elderly neighbors, Steffen ran next door to alert the couple’s daughter, Andrea Dever.

Richard Dever, who uses a wheelchair, and his wife Glenda were trapped inside the blaze, both yelling for help.

Steffen rushed in through the back door. He could barely see but found Richard near the kitchen, picked him up and carried him to the backyard. Steffen went back in to look for Glenda, but the smoke forced him back outside.

Meanwhile, Andrea Dever had kicked in the front door and, on her second foray into the house, found her stepmother on a burning couch. Unable to carry her, she dragged her down the driveway to safety.

When firefighters arrived, Glenda Dever was rushed to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. She’s still recovering from severe burns.

To read a previous News Tribune story about the incident, click here.

Katelyn Kinne
Katelyn Kinne
Katelyn and
Victoria Kinne of Puyallup
Youth heroes

While visiting their father Jeff Kinne in Pasco last summer, Katelyn, 13, and Victoria, 6, saved him after he was stung by a yellow jacket. Severely allergic, Jeff gave himself a shot of epinephrine and warned his daughters to call 911 immediately if he went unconscious.

He collapsed 10 minutes later, and the Puyallup sisters dialed 911.

Victoria Kinne
Victoria Kinne
Katelyn remembered her first aid and CPR training from a Red Cross babysitting class. She checked for a pulse and found he wasn’t breathing. She rolled him on his back and tilted his head back.

Katelyn then performed CPR with the help of a 911 dispatcher, while Victoria held the phone to her sister’s ear.

It took 13 minutes for emergency crews to arrive and take over. Jeff Kinne was transported to a local hospital and kept overnight for observation.

To read a previous News Tribune story about the incident, click here.

D.J. Lowrey of Puyallup
Medical rescue hero

While leaving the Puyallup Fair in September, D.J. and his cousins Lucas and Dillon stopped at a booth selling corndogs. As the teens continued down the street, Dillon grew quiet. D.J. saw his cousin with his hands around his neck, the universal signal for choking.

Dillon fell to his knees. He turned white and then purple.

As a crowd gathered, nobody made an effort to help. D.J., 15, frantically looked for a police officer or a medic, then picked Dillon up and did an abdominal thrust. It took two tries before Dillon breathed again and color returned to his face.

Afterward, D.J. was worried he might be in trouble because he didn’t have his first aid and CPR card with him. His grandfather told him he did the right thing by using his training.

Airman 1st Class
Joshua Henry of Puyallup
Military hero

A young Iraqi girl and her family were headed home from a clothing and toy distribution sponsored by Joint Base Balad last July. Suddenly there was a loud explosion. The father yelled; his daughter was badly burned and bloodied by a bomb blast.

Joshua Henry and other members of his Air Force squadron were riding in a Humvee when they came upon the scene. An assessment of the girl revealed a deep wound to her abdomen, serious lacerations, burns to her arms and legs, and several small shrapnel punctures.

It took less than four minutes for the team to stabilize the girl’s condition. Medics took her straight to a military hospital, where she was met by a trauma team.

Henry’s leadership not only was credited for the girl’s full recovery, but also for improving relations with the Iraqi people.

Will Britten and
Patrick Mirenta of the Key Peninsula
Good Neighbor heroes

The two boys were on their way to Henderson Bay High School in November 2008 when their bus came upon the scene of an accident on the Key Peninsula Highway. A vehicle had swerved into a ditch and crashed into a tree. The front end was crushed and four people were trapped in the burning wreckage.

Will and Patrick were stunned to see so many people standing and watching. While the bus driver grabbed a fire extinguisher and contained the fire, Will and Patrick jumped out of the bus, ready to use their first aid and CPR training.

Two people kicked out a window and escaped, but two girls were still trapped in the vehicle. Will and Patrick helped free them. One girl was stumbling, apparently in shock; Patrick guided her from the car and kept her warm with a jacket. The other girl had a bloody nose; Will stayed and talked with her to keep her conscious until paramedics arrived.

All four teens were taken to Tacoma hospitals.

Roger Magnuson
of Eatonville
Spirit of the Red Cross hero

The former Washington State Patrol officer was talking with his granddaughter in the parking lot of the Plaza Market in Eatonville last January when he heard a loud and unusual noise. A teenage boy, Dylan Landen, was being dragged under a school bus.

Magnuson rushed across the street and pounded on the bus to alert the driver. Once the bus stopped, Magnuson leaned underneath to check on Dylan. He found a pulse with difficulty and determined the boy was wedged against a rear wheel.

There was no room for error. Magnuson instructed the bus driver to back up six inches.

Magnuson kept Dylan calm until medics arrived and rushed him to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. The boy suffered a broken collarbone, bruised lung, broken ribs, a concussion and other injuries. Today he is still recovering, but is walking again.

To read a previous News Tribune story about the incident, click here.

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. All very deserving. Congrats to all the honorees, and thank you for your selfless service.

  2. ladystar1 says:

    Several people are still alive because others did not worry about their heroic actions bringing repercussions in the future. They truly are heroes. The law should prevent lawsuits against people who render assistance in emergency situations. More people would be willing to help, instead of standing by doing nothing.

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