County Comment: National County Government Week Celebrates "Heroes"

County Comment
National County Government Week Celebrates "Heroes"
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public information Officer

During the April 12 regular meeting, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners commemorated National County Government Week, April 10-16, with a proclamation presented to County Administrator Rod Shoop and Certificates of Merit presented to a number of County employees.
Each year the National Association of Counties sponsors National County Government Week (NCGW). This year's theme is "Honoring County Heroes", honoring and recognizing county employees who serve America. Whether it is policing streets, fighting fires, performing life-saving actions, saving taxpayer dollars, repairing bridges, plowing snow, managing the highways system, or the countless other jobs county employees partake in, these men and women deserve to be recognized for the work they do every day.
The Board honored honor a group of County Employees for actions above and beyond the call of normal duties, who do not in the least consider themselves as "heroes.
Sheriff's Deputy Ben Jones, on routine patrol in the Town of Williamsport, noticed a fire on the front porch of 42 West Potomac Street. Deputy Jones took immediate action to notify fire/rescue dispatch, awoke the seven occupants, a mother and six children, and slowed the progress of the fire by using his fire extinguisher. Deputy Ben Jones is credited with preventing loss of life and reducing the amount of damage this fire caused to this building.
Deputy First Class (DFC) David Norford was serving a summons south of Hagerstown when he noticed heavy smoke blowing over a building on East Washington Street, DFC Norford called for assistance on the radio, jumped a fence and ran up the stairs to the burning apartment. Norford forced the door to the apartment that was on fire, entered, and located three children, ages 15, 9, and 6, sleeping in one of the bedrooms, led the children to safety and placed them into his cruiser for warmth and safety.
DFC Scott Buskirk was off-duty in his marked police cruiser driving home from District Court when he came upon a personal injury vehicle accident on Westbound Interstate 70. DFC Buskirk notified the Sheriff's Office Communication Center that the vehicle was on fire and there were still occupants inside. Buskirk and a passer-by, pried the overturned vehicle's door open and removed a one-year old infant who was hanging upside down in the from a child safety seat. After moving the child to safety Buskirk returned to the vehicle where he found the driver unconscious and trapped inside. DFC Buskirk rendered aid to the driver until Fire & Rescue units arrived on the scene to extinguish the fire and extricate the driver.
Three employees of the Washington County Detention Center and Prime Care, Inc., the Detention Center's contractual medical service provider, responded to a medical emergency involving a young woman, Mary Williams, who had sustained a gun shot wound to the chest. The woman was shot in front of her home on Alpine Drive in Maugansville as she was leaving for work. A co-worker drove to the parking lot of the Sheriff's Office because he believed the assailant to be following him. Mrs. Williams was removed from the vehicle and placed on the pavement to facilitate rescue breathing while awaiting the arrival of the ambulance. Nurse Madonna Kelly, Medical Assistant Shannon Rasy, and DFC Brian Merck promptly arrived on the scene and began rendering all possible aid. When the ambulance arrived, DFC Mary Jane Blickenstaff assisted by directing emergency medical personnel to the victim and assisting with the preparation of the victim for transport to the hospital.
Additional honorees were Diane Mongan of the Highways Department, Engineer Scott Hobbs, Hagerstown Regional Airport Employees Phil Ridenour and Janet Moats,
Tina Rupert of the Division of Public Works, Annajean McKnight of the Human Resources Department and the entire staff of the Budget and Finance Department.
Division and Department heads were asked to nominate individuals they "couldn't get along without" or those who had recently exhibited exemplary actions in the course of County employment.