Pa. EMT receives valor award for pulling man from truck fire

Cumberland-Goodwill EMT Grace Snyder's actions were caught on camera as she pulled the man away seconds before an explosion


Tammie Gitt
The Sentinel, Carlisle, Pa.

CARLISLE, Pa. — Steve Lyle, executive director of the Emergency Health Services Federation, hoped he would never have to actually present an award the federation created. It's an award for valor, and giving it to someone meant that an EMT would have to put his or her life in danger.

But, when Lyle saw the video of Cumberland-Goodwill's Grace Snyder helping a man from a burning car in January, he knew who would be the award's first recipient.

Lyle presented Snyder with the federation's Medal of Valor at Cumberland-Goodwill's South Hanover Street station Tuesday morning during a ceremony that also recognized members of the company for successful cardiac arrest saves and special deliveries.

Cumberland-Goodwill EMS responded to a single-vehicle crash near its station at 1:29 a.m. on Jan. 7. As they turned out of the station, Grace Snyder and her partner could see the truck on fire at the intersection of South Bedford and East Willow streets.

Snyder got out of the ambulance and ran toward the truck where a bystander had helped the man out of the car. She put her arms around the victim and helped him to walk backward, away from the fire, as tires on the truck exploded.

That bystander, John Rudy, was later honored by Carlisle Borough with a Police Life Saving Award for his actions that day.

Video of the rescue was captured on the ambulance's dashboard camera and posted to social media.

What struck Lyle about Snyder's action isn't what she did at the burning car itself. It was the first two or three steps out of the ambulance that showed her lack of hesitation and determination to help the victim.

"So few of the events that EMS respond on, unlike law enforcement and fire, are caught on video, and you can see the personal impact and personal risk," Lyle said.

The honor came as a surprise for Snyder, who thought she would receive a challenge coin like her colleagues who were honored at the same ceremony for live-saving resuscitations and for delivering babies while on calls.

"I didn't think any of this was going to happen," she said.

Her father, Duane, said Grace has been in and around the fire service and knew what she had to do when she saw the truck in flames.

"She deserves all of it," he said. "I couldn't be prouder of her."

Cumberland- Goodwill also honored a number of its staff with challenge coins for successful cardiac arrest saves during the ceremony. Tyler Bailey, Darryl Strick and Tony Altland were honored for an incident in Carlisle borough. It was the third challenge coins earned by Bailey and Strick, and Altland's second.

Leon Glowacki, Matthew Konya, Adam Barker and Kyle Miller were honored for an incident in South Middleton Township. It was Glowacki and Konya's first award, and Barker and Miller's second.

Mike Murray and Isaac Burke received their first challenge coins for a separate incident in South Middleton Township.

Glowacki and Burke received a second challenge coin, and Miller and Katherine Strait received their thirds for an additional incident in South Middleton Township.

Three providers were honored for delivering a baby in 2020. They were Strick, Cody Wood and Lauren Berry. The award gave Strick master level status and was the second and third coins earned by Wood and Berry, respectively.

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(c)2021 The Sentinel (Carlisle, Pa.)

 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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