First responders in Poland get award from state


By Ashley Luthern

aluthern@vindy.com

POLAND

It’s been almost a year since township resident Al Morell nearly lost his leg in a garden-tilling accident, and this week, those who helped save his leg — and his life — will be honored in Columbus.

Morell had just finished tilling his garden May 20, 2010, and was backing the machine out of the plot when he stepped into a soft spot in his lawn.

“I grabbed for the safety, but I fell underneath the Rototiller. It took my leg and wanted to grind it up,” Morell said.

He called 911 from his cellphone. Sam Campana, a paramedic supervisor from Rural/Metro ambulance, and volunteers with the Western Reserve Joint Fire District responded.

Campana and Lt. Tony Tucci led the team of firefighters and first responders, said Fire Chief David C. Comstock Jr.

“They did minor tourniquets, stopping the bleeding. ... A lot of people thought he’d lose his leg,” Comstock said.

The fire district nominated Campana, Tucci, firefighter Jamie Boerio and first responders Shaun Serich, Gio Melia and Michele Lumpp for the EMS Star of Life Award administered by the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

Last month, the department was notified that the team had won the Star of Life award for its district. The award will be presented Wednesday as part of Ohio EMS Week.

The EMS Star of Life honors exceptional EMS personnel from Ohio’s EMS regions and reunites EMS providers with the person treated, according to the agency’s website.

Morell said he will attend this week’s ceremony and calls those who helped his “guardian angels.”

“I’m very fortunate to have my leg and to be alive,” he said.

Morell has a slight limp but is walking without a cane. He said doctors predicted it would be a year before he walked, but he beat the expectations and began walking in December.

Morell also credits his wife, Mary Ann, for saving his life.

“I normally didn’t have a cellphone on me, and my wife was on me for about a month and half before the accident to carry one. I don’t think I would have had it on me if she hadn’t urged me to,” he said.

Morell said the paramedics, first responders and firefighters who helped him were very professional and “just knew what they were doing.”

“They said they don’t like to be called heroes, so I’ll call them my guardian angels,” he said.

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