Hancock County honors five for life-saving efforts

Morning Journal/Steve Rappach Standing behind the Hancock County Commissioners’ desk are the recipients of the Citizens Life Saving Award and a proclamation through the Hancock County Sheriff’s office and the commission, whom were honored during Thursday’s meeting for saving the life of 4-year-old Jeremiah Fadely following an accident at the pool at Tomlinson Run State Park on June 29. Pictured are (from left) Sheriff Ralph Fletcher, Commissioner Jeff Davis, lifeguards Jacob McCoy, Olivia Arneault and Hope Robinson, good samaritan George Petties, Jeremiah Fadely, and commissioners Joe Barnabei and Paul Cowey. Missing from photo and not in attendance Thursday was Wendi Hunley, who also assisted in the rescue.

NEW CUMBERLAND — The quick action of five individuals at Tomlinson Run State Park saved the life of a 4-year-old boy earlier this summer, and their efforts were recognized Thursday during the Hancock County Commission meeting.

Honored were lifeguards Jacob McCoy, Olivia Arneault and Hope Robinson and visitors/good samaritans George Petties and Wendi Hunley, all of whom were involved in the rescue of Jeremiah Fadely following a near-drowning accident June 29 at the pool.

According to the sheriff’s department, deputies and first responders with both the New Manchester Volunteer Fire Department and the Hancock County Ambulance Service were called to the pool around 5:48 p.m. that day following reports Fadely was unconscious and not breathing.

McCoy, Arneault, Robinson, Petties and Hunley — the latter a licensed practical nurse — were able to pull the boy from the water and immediately administered CPR. Through their efforts, the boy was able to breathe again. Fadely was flown to UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh and has since made a full recovery.

Sheriff Ralph Fletcher took time to honor the five for their heroic efforts, and also put them in the category of “first responders,” which many think of as firefighters, paramedics or police when using the term.

“I was quoted as saying once when this first happened that people look at us as being law enforcement as first responders, fire department as first responders, EMTs as first responders, but I don’t hear lifeguards being put in that category,” Fletcher said. “But they absolutely are our first responders.

“If you look at them, they’re young people. Young adults who, obviously, some parents somewhere taught them right because they got a job for the summer and gave up their summer by working as lifeguards,” Fletcher said. “They had to study, I’m sure, take tests to be a lifeguard. They had to swim so much. They had to produce and show that they were capable of doing what they did on this particular day, which was to save lives.”

Joined by parents, Natalie and Dan, and sister, Rachel, Jeremiah also was on hand for Thursday’s meeting. “He’s here today because of some extraordinary people, and they’re with us today,” Fletcher said.

The commission also took time to honor each of the five by presenting a proclamation, recognizing their efforts in the rescue.

McCoy, Arneault, Robinson and Petties each received a Citizen Life Saving Award plaque, which was presented through the sheriff’s office and the commission. Hunley was not in attendance.

Also in attendance was Tomlinson Run superintendent assistant Philip Davis, whom according to Fletcher stated he was proud of them and their efforts.