Heroism and bravery on display at Loudoun Chamber’s 30th annual Valor Awards
It's that 'what if' that Loudoun Senior Deputy Earl Haussling thinks about every day since March 27, 2014, when he and Deputy First Class Brandon Leigh saved the life of a distraught CountrySide resident who had attempted suicide.
The two were conducting an eviction at the man's home when they found him inside, lying in a pool of blood, with multiple cuts on his body.
Haussling said he was minutes away from canceling the eviction order because initially the locksmith on scene was unable to get the two inside the home.
“I was this close to canceling it, which would have been fine and legal and within my rights to say 'yeah, we're canceling this.' The plaintiff allowed the [locksmith] to break the window … and it's a good thing because I don't guess that guy would have made it,” Haussling said.
“I think about that all the time. What would have happened if I had canceled it? … We had no information as to that anyone was inside, much less in distress like he was,” he added.
The deputies climbed through the broken window, injuring themselves on broken glass, when they found the man.
The two used their first aid skills to control the man's bleeding and maintain an open airway until fire and rescue personnel could arrive on scene.
The man was taken to a trauma center, where he made a full recovery.
“It's a great feeling … if we hadn't been there I don't think he would have lived. You can't, obviously, put yourself in someone's position like that to understand what they're going through to lose their home ...” Leigh said.
For their heroic efforts, Leigh and Haussling were awarded a Unit Citation at the 30th annual Valor Awards held Friday at the National Conference Center in Leesburg.
The men were two of 13 Valor Award recipients, which included seven awards given to civilians for acts of bravery under pressure.
Calm under pressure
For four colleagues at the Janelia Research Campus, the last thought on their mind was saving the life of a co-worker on that fateful 2014 summer day.
Jennifer Goodnight, Josh Russell, Nick Cook and Terence Watson “responded quickly and with great poise when they learned that a colleague was facing a life-threatening situation,” according to a write-up of the incident in the Valor Awards' program.
Russell, a 12-year safety professional, rushed to access a co-worker who had collapsed and was not breathing.
“It was a little rough at first, obviously … but in the end it turned out great,” Russell said.
The team, when they realized the man had no detectable pulse, began chest compressions.
Cook, a security officer, arrived with a first aid kit, followed by Goodnight, a safety specialist who trained and worked as an emergency medical technician.
Goodnight instructed Cook to prepare a bag value mask to give oxygen. Watson, a security manager, arrived with a defibrillator.
Goodnight and Russell alternated giving chest compressions while Cook and Watson monitored the man's pulse and respiration, maintained an open airway and administered oxygen. The team used the defibrillator to restart the man's heart.
“We were extremely happy that it ended as well as it did,” Goodnight said. “We were all closing our eyes and praying for a while, for a couple of days, because we didn't know how it would end up.”
As a former EMT, Goodnight was used to this type of situation – just not one that involved someone she knew personally.
“It's very easy to second-guess yourself and say 'I wish I would have done this differently' … but when we all got the news [that he was OK] and when he walked toward us to give us hugs and say thank you, it was like 'I can't believe this is happening,'” Goodnight said.
The man, thanks to the four's teamwork, make a full recovery.
For their efforts, they were given a Meritorious Civilian Award.
'Saving another life'
Loudoun Deputy First Class Casey Macomber was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia on Aug. 9, 2013.
The illness was life-changing for someone so passionate about his career.
An avid runner, weightlifter and scuba diver, Deputy Macomber endured four rounds of chemotherapy and a full round of radiation treatment prior to a Dec. 17, 2013, bone marrow transplant.
The deputy was on his way to recovery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital when suddenly a women, also a cancer patient, went into cardiac arrest in her apartment located across the hall from Macomber's residence.
His weakened state from the transplant, daily blood infusions and a low white cell count, didn't deter the deputy.
With a mask on his face, he began chest compressions, while his father Edward Macomber, a retired Secret Service agent, initiated mouth-to-mouth breathing.
“It was exhausting, no doubt about that … I wasn't even allowed to leave the room without a mask on because I had zero immune system at the time. I was literally getting one to two bags of blood transfusions a day just because my counts were so low just to maintain a normal walking pace let alone having to do check compressions,” Casey Macomber said.
The woman eventually died from complications of her surgery, but the father-son team's efforts prolonged her life for three days – long enough for her daughter to fly in to be with her before she died.
The two, for their actions, were honored with the Lifesaving and Meritorious Civilian awards.
“Casey took the lead and we just followed it. Being in law enforcement for over 35 years, it comes naturally, and he's trained in the things he does so it was just the natural thing for us to do,” Edward Macomber said. “Casey was obviously in a very weakened state and it didn't deter him at all.”
Other award winners:
Bronze Medal of Valor – Leesburg Officer Alex Hilton and Sgt. Mark Davis.
The two on March 14, 2014, faced with a 78-year-old man with trouble breathing and holding a handgun, prevented a suicide. As the two went into the man's apartment, he retreated around a corner.
Davis pursued the man and disarmed him as Hilton followed close by with his own firearm at the ready. The man was later admitted to a psychiatric facility for treatment.
Meritorious Civilian Award – Tammy Dawley, who on April 23, performed CPR on her husband Howard Dawley, a retired Loudoun Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management deputy chief, ultimately saving his life.
Meritorious Civilian Award – Robin Benjamin, an operations manager for AMJ Financial Wealth Management. Benjamin, concerned with the disappearance of a client, was able to assist state police in locating the client's abductor utilizing photos and bank records. Law enforcement said had it not been for Benjamin's efforts, her client would have died, as her abductor held her against her will for 10 days in a basement. The woman had been beaten, bound and suffered a broken arm at the hands of a handyman she had hired. His plans were to extort money from her and then kill the elderly woman.
Unit Citation – Leesburg Police Officers Brad Schultz, Justin Wilt, Christopher Hill, Matt Santo, Ian Isleib, Brian Church, Ed Martin and Patrick Dantzic. The group on Feb. 15, 2014, were able to subdue a man under the influence of PCP who had become a danger to himself, his family and the officers.
“Only the extreme physical effort and to the teamwork of these eight officers, under extreme stress and with a constant threat to their safety, led to the resolution of this violent situation without harm to the subject, his family, or the officers,” according to a Valor Award write-up of the situation.
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