by Lisa Tome
Kevin Vaughan couldn't possibly count the number of 911 calls he's taken in his 11 years of service.
Vaughan, a dispatch captain with Cecil's Department of Emergency Services, used "attentiveness and ingenuity" when answering a call last fall to send police to a woman who was being held captive.
On October 24, 2016 shortly before 7 p.m., he answered a cell phone call but could only hear noises associated with buttons being pushed. He then contacted the phone service provider to trace the call. Simultaneously, he received another call from the same number with only button noises being heard.
Vaughan then asked the caller to answer yes or no to questions by tapping on the phone - one time for yes and twice for no. Through this painstaking process, he was able to confirm her address and learned that she needed police, Maryland State Troopers and Rising Sun Police responded to that address. They found a woman being held against her will. Her male captor had outstanding warrants and was in possession of illegal drugs.
Vaughan went above and beyond the call of duty and said his method, allowing the caller to answer questions by tapping, wasn't one he learned during formal training. "It was the only thing I could think to do. It all blurs together. But I know I understood she was tapping yes or no with the taps. That call was unique. I'm glad it all worked out," said Vaughan.
His work earned Vaughan a shift citation. Vaughan was one of a myriad of first responders who were honored on Wednesday night at Cecil College during the department's 2017 recognition event.
A call on Christmas Eve 2016 had first responders caring for one of their own. Ray Stevens and Andrew Rapczak from North East Fire Company and Paramedic Captain David Barr and County Paramedics Amy Duhamell and Jacob White responded to a fatal motor vehicle accident on Route 40 in the area of Weaver's Liquors. Maryland State Police and forensic investigator Denise Hill, who is also an assistant chief for the Department of Emergency Services were working the scene of the fatality.
A driver then breached an SHA barricade, then struck Assistant Chief Hill. Her body was thrown into a ditch on a dark, foggy night. The EMS personnel then cared for Hill and took her to the trauma unit at Christiana Hospital. She sustained serious injuries but has since recovered.
"I am very grateful to be here. I know it was their (EMS crew) worst nightmare. But I have excellent providers. I knew I was in good hands," said Hill, who cried as she thanked those who treated her. Barr, Duhamell, White, Rapczak, and Stevens were presented with a Meritorious Service Award.
On Father's Day, June 19, 2016, Robert Foor of Charlestown knew he was having a heart attack.
"I knew I was going to have to call 911. That's the last thing I remember," said Foor. County Paramedics Josh Pierson, Ashley Hennemuth, Brook Haines, Jacob White, Magdelena Stewart, and Tara Dixon and Andrew Rapczak from North East Fire Company responded to his call. They determined that Foor was having a significant heart attack. He went into full cardiac arrest. He was given CPR and multiple defibrillations in the ambulance. After 23 minutes, his heart started beating.
Last week, he was on hand to thank those who saved him. "I felt compelled to thank them. They brought me back from the brink. Their quick response is why I'm here. I wanted the opportunity to thank them," said Foor. "The job they did was unbelievable. You don't think much about them until you need it. They did a fabulous job."
On Wednesday, May 24 the Cecil County Department of Emergency Services held its 2017 recognition event and graduation.
The event also included swearing in of personnel. For the first time, Cecil's dispatchers, command staff, and paramedics were sworn in by Clerk of the Court Charlene Notarcola.
Certificates of recognition were presented to:
• Dispatcher Staci Schauman for "determination and calm resolve."
• Dispatcher Ty McGee for "perseverance and empathy."
• Captain Paula Robinson, Lieutenant Greg Rhodes, and dispatchers Sundee Nutter and Robin Carney for "cooperation as a team and excellent coordination and communication skills."
• Lieutenant Greg Rhodes, and dispatchers Robin Carney and Robert Miles for "Ingenuity and teamwork to rescue stranded boaters.
• Captain Paula Robinson, Lieutenant Greg Rhodes, and dispatchers Robert Miles, Keith Sinclair, Brian Jackson, Robin Carney, Sundee Nutter, John Frantz, Daniel Demers, and Shirl Coates. for "persistence in a time of major stress."
• Dispatcher Ty McGee for helping to deliver a baby.
• Community Service Award - Assistant Chief Jim Alfree for raising funds for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Shift citations presented to:
• Dispatch Captain Tim Poore, Lieutenant Samantha Riley, dispatchers Brian Jackson, Brett Wyatt, Alex McGee, Tabitha McGinnis, Michael White, Dominick Pisapia, Paramedic Captain Andrew Budzialek, Paramedic Lieutenant Steven Cummins, Paramedics Josh Pierson and Magdelena Stewart, Singerly Fire Company first responders Lee Curry, John Dominick, Michele Ewing, Jimmy Ewing, Catherine Farrell, Brandon Ferguson, Cody Hopkins, John Mayes, Bill McCall, Jen McClellan, Danny Norman, Clinton Polk, Pete Ryan, Travis Terry, Abigail Trzcinka, Robert Muller, and David Eason. North East Fire Company first responders Andrew Rapczak and Brianna Sienkiewicz for their part in a rescue following a motor vehicle crash.
• Captain Kevin Vaughan received a citation for "attentiveness and ingenuity."
• Captain Tim Poore, Lieutenant Samantha Riley, dispatchers Tabitha McGinnis, Brett Wyatt, and Alex MeGee for strong work during the New Eastern Inn shootings.
• Paramedics William Graham and Phil Zulauf, Cecilton Fire Company's Ray Lynn, Heather Miller, Lee O'Neal, Jeff West, Chris Organek, Galena Fire Department's Jack Duhamell, Maryland Natural Resources Police Officers Sgt. Bob Bakeoven, Cpl. Danielle Brown, Cpl. Brandon Davis, and Officers Andy Shaw, Jake Bucher, and Jason Haynes, and Maryland State Trooper Max Shulte for rescuing Scott Carroll following an accidental shooting.
Lifesaving Awards presented to:
• Paramedic Lt. Steven Cummins, DFC William Muller, Paramedic Captain Andrew Budzialek, Paramedics Brook Haines and Leslie Cheyney, and Daniel Demers and Chris Green from Chesapeake City Fire Company for saving a driver who was enduring a medical emergency.
• Paramedics Josh Pierson, Ashley Hennemuth, Brook Haines, Jacob White, Magdelena Stewart and Tara Dixon and Andrew Rapczak from North East Fire Company for saving the life of Robert Foor.
• Paramedic Lt. Brad Dixon, Paramedics Morgan McLennan and Phil Zulauf, State Trooper Charlie Smith, Cecilton Fire Company's Deanna Cheyney, David Sakers III, Wendy Pardee, and Heather Miller for saving a burn victim.
Meritorious Services Awards presented to:
Department of Emergency Services personnel Dispatch Captain Tim Poore, Lt. Lauren Macomber, Dispatchers Shirl Coates and Kurtis Eller, Deputy Director John Donohoe, Assistant Chiefs Denise Hill and Paul Massarelli, Heather Miller, Paramedics Heather McKenney and Harold Hathaway, Cecilton Fire Company volunteers Chief Jay Pardee, Mike Scheeler, John Dixon, Wilson Davis, Ernie Beck, Jason Reamy, Jeff West, Nichole Reed, Jim Pardee, Butch Reed, staff from Atlantic Tractor, and volunteers from Harford County, Middletown/Townsend/Odessa Delaware for freeing a victim stuck in an auger.
• Paramedic Captain David Barr, Paramedics Amy Duhamell, and Jacob White along with Ray Stevens and Andrew Rapczak of North East Fire Company for tending Assistant Chief Denise Hill after she was injured while working as a forensic investigator.
Distinguished Service Awards were presented to:
Assistant Chief Rick Koch and Assistant Chief James Alfree