PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — More than two dozen people were recognized at the State House Thursday for saving another person’s life.
State police, Hopkinton police, Providence fire, and Central Falls fire were among the several agencies represented at the ceremony. Those honored were men and women whose first-rate training prevented serious injury and death.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee and Sec. of State Ralph Mollis were on hand to award the 2014 Rhode Island Lifesaving Medal to 15 emergency responders. Dressed in different uniforms, their actions this past year all saved people in dire straits.
Among the honorees was bomb squad technician Bruce Quinn, who rushed to the injured at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence a split second after that horrific circus accident in May. He said he wasn’t the only one who rushed to the performers’ aid, though.
“Two nurses jumped from the crowd to come give us a hand,” said Quinn. “I’m accepting this on behalf of them, because it wasn’t just me. It was a very, very good team effort. So, thank you.”
The pool of medal recipients were noticeably uncomfortable in the spotlight, however, since “hero” isn’t a term they like to use.
“It’s more muscle memory and you just react. You really don’t think about it,” Quinn added. “You just see, assess, analyze, help. It’s an automatic process. Getting singled out is very nice, but it’s what we do.”
“It never hurts to let the public know that they have these people out there that care about what they do, and they care about the citizens that live in this state,” State Police Col. Steven O’Donnell responded.
Another honoree Thursday was Providence firefighter Jermaine Woods, who was off-duty when he ran into a Pawtucket house that exploded and saved the family inside. Two others rescued a disturbed individual who had jumped on to a frozen Providence river, where the ice was giving way.