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SBPD Awards Corner

September 14th, 2007 by Teri Lanning

American Red Cross of St. Joseph County 2006 Heroes Hall of Fame

The 2007 Red Cross Heroes Hall of Fame luncheon event was held on Tuesday, August 21, 2007, at the South Bend Main Fire Station, 1222 S. Michigan, in South Bend. Several of our officers were included in the ceremony for 29 individuals who performed heroic acts in 2006.

WSBT Anchorwoman Cindy Ward served as emcee, following remarks by Joseph Kernan and Mayor Stephen Luecke. The condensed script featuring our South Bend Police Department officers follows… Congratulations!

Heroes: Sgt. William Schmidt; Cpl. Ken Ryan; Cpl. Steve Ross; Cpl. Ron Glon; Cpl. Sandra Smith
Prevented Suicide 3-08-2006

On March 8, 2006, five officers responded to a call of an individual threatening to do harm to himself and property. Upon arrival they found that the reported individual had covered himself with gasoline and was trying to set himself ablaze. He was also threatening to burn down the house. The fire department had responded and was standing by while the police worked to defuse the situation. The officers worked quickly to devise a plan to subdue the party. As the scene escalated, the individual started smoking cigarettes and playing with the lighter, taunting law enforcement. As the officers moved in to take the individual into custody they put themselves in great danger, as the gasoline soaked man attempted to grab one of the officer’s weapons.

The officers were able to subdue the party and handcuff the individual, and at that time he began receiving medical and mental treatment for his mental condition. These individuals showed courage in the face of danger and helped what could have been a very bad situation end in a way that benefited all involved.

Heroes: Cpl. Kevin Gibbons & Cpl. Gary Reynolds
Gave CPR 4-06-2006

On April 3, 2006, Corporals Gary Reynolds and Kevin Gibbons responded to a call of an individual in distress. Dispatch advised that the individual was suffering from a heart attack. Officers arrived on scene and provided “First Responder” medical treatment until the South Bend Fire Department Paramedics arrived and began to administer advanced life support. This call proved that nothing replaces knowledge and training in the line of duty. The skill these officers used to save a life are an essential part of their police training to protect and serve their community.

Heroes: Cpl. Michael VanVynckt & Cpl. Jack Stilp
Child Stopped Breathing 4-19-2006

On April 19, 2006, Corporals VanVynckt and Stilp responded to a call of a child not breathing. Dispatch informed the child was approximately one year old. When officers arrived on scene they both started performing CPR on the unresponsive infant. Cpl. Stilp held the infant and performed chest compressions while Cpl. VanVynckt performed the rescue breathing. The action taken by both officers is credited for sustaining the infant’s life until South Bend Fire Department Paramedics arrived. The emergency room physicians praised the work of the officers in their attempt to save the infant’s life.

Heroes: Cpl. Christopher Houser, Cpl. Sheldon Scott and Sgt. Cori Bair
Infant in Distress 9-17-2006

After responding to an address on West Jefferson, these officers found a one week old infant who was not breathing. The officers then started performing CPR and were able to revive the infant until South Bend Fire Department paramedics arrived. The Red Cross would like every person in our community to learn the lifesaving skills that are gained from learning CPR, First Aid, and other personal emergency management skills. In an instance like this one, those skills can be applied to even the most vulnerable— like a newborn baby. Help was provided to sustain life by one kind of hero— our police officers—until the heroes we count on for professional lifesaving, the fire department, were able to arrive.

Hero Scott Severns
He gave his life to save another 4-23-2006

On Friday, April 21, 2006, Cpl. Scott Severns and a friend were walking to a parking lot behind the Boy Scouts of America LaSalle Council building when they were approached by suspects—one armed with a handgun. Severns was off-duty at the time and without body armor, but without regard for his own safety defended the life of a friend by stepping forward and drawing his own gun in defense. When the suspect started firing, Scott returned fire, injuring the suspect. Tragedy continued as Scott was fatally wounded, and died from complications two days later. Scott, whose ambition was to follow in the footsteps of his father (a retired K-9 officer) —served the community diligently while he worked for that goal. His dreams were cut short by a senseless act of violence. A hero at heart, his final act was to serve. He made the ultimate sacrifice, not only for his friend but for his fellow officers and citizens of the community. He unselfishly served with great personal courage and devotion to duty each and every day. He gave his life so that another might live. Even in death, he continued to give. Scott was an organ donor. His courage, bravery and dedication to service are traits that made Scott Severns a hero.

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