Help in different ways
Citations go to two for quick aid after crash, one for decades making community safer
Ken Quinlan had just been in a serious collision, but that didn’t stop him from jumping to the aid of others involved.
On Thursday, Quinlan, along with Clearview Township firefighter Rob Leblond, were honoured with Chief of Police citation awards at the Owen Sound police station for performing life-saving first aid after the crash on the 10th Street East hill on Feb. 17, 2017.
Quinlan said Thursday after receiving the citation that he was just reacting to the situation at the time.
“I didn’t think about it at all,” the Owen Sound man said.
Quinlan was driving a 35-foot cargo truck east up the hill when a car travelling west down the hill crossed the centre line and hit another vehicle before hitting his truck.
The car was “demolished” in the collision and Quinlan and Leblond went to the aid of the victims involved, acting Insp. Mike Daze said during Thursday’s ceremony.
After assisting a passenger in the rear seat, Leblond found that the teenager in the front passenger seat was without vital signs, and Quinlan entered the rear seat of the vehicle to assist, Daze said.
Leblond repositioned the victim’s head and opened his airway, while Quinlan held and stabilized the victim’s head against the head rest of the vehicle. Through their efforts, the teen regained a weak vital sign, Daze said.
Both men also helped the driver of the vehicle, who was semi-conscious and in significant distress. They were able to calm the driver down and Leblond was able to monitor vital signs of both victims. Both men cared for the injured for about five minutes until emergency services arrived and took over, Daze said.
The driver of the vehicle, Tyler Downs, 18, of Hepworth at the time, was found guilty Thursday of a charge of dangerous driving causing bodily harm, but not guilty of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, in connection with the crash.
Both charges named Downs’s friend Nick Heinzer, 18, of Hepworth at the time of the collision, as the victim.
Quinlan said for the 24 hours after the crash his thoughts were almost solely with the injured.
“I thought we had a couple of kids who weren’t going to make it,” said Quinlan. “I am just glad they did make it.”
He said he occasionally thinks about the crash, which left him sore for about a week, but without any serious injuries. Going back to his job driving truck was difficult.
“The odd time when I am going up 10th Street I think about it,” said Quinlan, who has been driving truck for about three years now.
He said the current trial has also made him think about it again.
“You like to put things in your past, but it continues on,” he said. “You don’t think too much about it really. At least I don’t. It is just something that happened in life and you continue on.”
He said receiving the citation felt good.
“I don’t think I did much, but it feels good,” said Quinlan, who gave most of the credit to Leblond for assisting the injured.
“I was the first one there, but without (Leblond) being there, I knew nothing,” Quinlan said.
In turn, Leblond, who has been a firefighter for almost 25 years, said Quinlan’s assistance was essential.
“Without him it would have been a struggle. He was helping with one of the main factors too in opening the airways so (the victim) could take a breath when he needed it,” said the Singhampton man.
Leblond, who works for Miller’s Dairy in Creemore, had just finished making his regular delivery to Foodland just west of Owen Sound and was sitting at a red light on 10th Street East at the corner of 4th Avenue East when the collision happened.
He looked up and saw the aftermath of the crash and immediately his firefighter training kicked in and he went to see how he could help.
“You are always on duty. It doesn’t matter if you are at the mall or anywhere,” said Leblond. “You are there to help. That is what we are here for.”
Leblond said after they administered first aid and the teen passenger took a breath in front of him he said, “Hmm. We got him.”
He said it was a moment that brought a smile to his face.
“You know that he has a chance now,” said Leblond, who added it was a “fantastic” feeling to receive the citation on Thursday.
“It is a great feeling knowing that the two boys are up and around and better,” said Leblond. “It really feels nice to be recognized for your efforts.”
Also recognized on Thursday with a citation was Colleen Purdon for her commitment to the safety and well-being of women and girls in the community.
Purdon was executive director of the Women’s Shelter for eight years beginning in 1986, and up until her retirement last year spent 20 years as co-ordinator of Violence Prevention Grey Bruce. She has also worked with the Building a Bigger Wave provincial network to co-ordinate prevention for violence against women strategies and was also a member of a provincial panel that developed Neighbours, Friends, Families public education resources to address domestic violence.
She has also been a trainer for the Make it Our Business: Addressing DomesticViolenceintheWorkplace and the It’s Not Right initiative to address senior abuse.
Through Violence Prevention Grey Bruce, Purdon has been involved in revisiting and revamping protocols between police services and all the other community agencies that respond to domestic violence and sexual violence.
Purdon said police play a role when it comes to addressing domestic violence and sexual violence, in that they can help victims of violence as well as offenders turn their lives around by working closely with the community agencies.
“Police in our area and the women’s shelter, we developed the first police-shelter protocol in Ontario,” said Purdon. “It was a model for protocols all across Ontario.”
Purdon said it is work that she has enjoyed doing.
“The rule of law is really, really important for democracy and for the safety of our community and I think we have police services that work with the community,” said Purdon. “All of these agencies and organizations I have been part of, we have had a lot of police connection and it makes for a safer community and better community when police are working very closely with the community.”
The citations were handed out on Thursday as part of Police Week 2018. A week’s worth of activities wrap up today and Saturday with tours of the police station at 922 2nd Ave. W. The tours run 1 to 4 p.m. on today and 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The Chief of Police citation awards were handed out at the Owen Sound Police Service on Thursday in Owen Sound. From left are citation recipients Ken Quinlan and Rob Leblond, who performed life-saving first aid at a crash on 10th Street East last year, Police Chief Bill Sornberger, and citation recipient Colleen Purdon, who has spent years ensuring the safety and well-being of women and children in the area.