Shelter Association of Washtenaw County, Delonis Center Receive HVA Award


Eight lives were saved by the staff at the Robert J. Delonis Center this past winter that might have otherwise been lost to drug overdoses, had The Shelter Association of Washtenaw County not done their jobs so well.

This high level of care and service was recognized by Huron Valley Ambulance, which issued a number of awards to individuals and organizations at its recent yearly award dinner during National EMS week the week of May 23.

The Delonis Center, like most organizations that exist to aid this nation’s most vulnerable groups, does its best to meet the needs of those who rely on it. Despite being located in a supportive city like Ann Arbor, the level of support never measures up to the demand making what the staff at the center accomplish that much more remarkable.

The Shelter Association’s mission is to end homelessness one person at A time by providing showers, medical care, and case management to many who rely on the center year-round. Many others are literally kept alive by the winter program that provides a warm place to sleep on cold nights.

Between the 1,500 folks who looked to the association for help getting back on their feet and the 425 who took shelter in the winter program to avoid freezing to death, the Delonis Center staff does all of this while still dealing with the fallout of drug addiction that keeps many homeless people trapped on the streets.

This past winter nine individuals who walked through the center’s doors overdosed on the premises requiring life-saving action initiated by the center’s dedicated, trained staff.

“Thanks to the knowledge and training of the staff eight of those lives were saved,” said HVA spokesperson Matt Rose. “The dedication and hard work of those involved with the Delonis Center is evident in the compassion and care they show to those citizens of Washtenaw County who need extra support to achieve change in their lives.”

Other awards

HVA presented Washtenaw County residents Jasper Gary, Justice Moss, and Deputy Kyle Mizer of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office with lifesaving awards­­ for their actions on this past April 9.

Lee Ann Farrell, Cindy Kessinger, Debbie Hamrick, Rocky Buehler, Mark Smokowicz, and Jim Pryce of the Tri-County Sportsmen’s League in Saline were also recognized for their heroic actions on April 23 of last year.

Car Fire Rescue

On April 9 a father was driving on Willis Road in Augusta with his 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son in the back seat of the car.

While the father was driving, his car left the road and struck a large tree head-on. Damage to the car was severe, and it began smoking immediately after impact. The father was reported as unresponsive and partially ejected from the car, bystanders attempted to remove him from the car but were unsuccessful.

Several bystanders stopped at the scene including Jasper Gary and Justice Moss. These two men did not hesitate to approach the smoking vehicle and remove the children from harm’s way. Their quick actions and bravery without a doubt saved the children’s lives.

Deputy Kyle Mizer from the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene to find the engine area of the car fully in flames. He retrieved a fire extinguisher from his patrol car and attempted to control the flames until the fire department arrived. Multiple people at the scene brought additional fire extinguishers, which Deputy Mizer deployed in efforts to extinguish the fire. Deputy Mizer acted in a selfless and fearless manner to attempt to save the life of another.

Cardiac Arrest Save

On April 23rd, 2016, a man went into cardiac arrest at the Tri-County Sportsmen’s League. Individuals at the club took immediate action in saving the man’s life. Lee Ann Farrel, Cindy Kessinger, and Debbi Hamrick took turns administering CPR until the first responders arrived. Rocky Buehler and Mark Smokowicz retrieved the building’s AED and brought it to the man’s location. Jim Pryce assisted in directing the responding paramedics to the correct location on the club grounds and helped with crowd control during the event.

The quick thinking, selfless actions and prior training of everyone involved in this event all played a part in saving a life that day.
Shelter Association

The information written under the bulleted sub-headlines in this report were written by Matt Rose.

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