8th Annual Heroes Day honors local first responders - Tucson News Now

8th Annual Heroes Day honors local first responders

TSgt. David Velarde from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (Source: Southern Arizona Heroes Day) TSgt. David Velarde from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (Source: Southern Arizona Heroes Day)
Lt. John Teachout and Lt. Christopher Olson from the Oro Valley Police Department (Source: Southern Arizona Heroes Day) Lt. John Teachout and Lt. Christopher Olson from the Oro Valley Police Department (Source: Southern Arizona Heroes Day)
Officer Mike Pelton from the Tucson Police Department (Source: Southern Arizona Heroes Day) Officer Mike Pelton from the Tucson Police Department (Source: Southern Arizona Heroes Day)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Southern Arizona will get a chance to honor several heroes during the 8th Annual Heroes Day on Thursday, Oct. 27. 

TSgt. David Velarde from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Lt. John Teachout and Lt. Christopher Olson from the Oro Valley Police Department, and Officer Mike Pelton from the Tucson Police Department will be honored during the annual event.  

The public is invited to attend this event and to sign a banner thanking all law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, Border Patrol agents and others who work to keep southern Arizona safe and help in times of crisis. It takes place on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 9:30 a.m. at La Encantada courtyard (2805 East Skyline Drive). 

Also on Oct. 27, Jack Furrier Tire & Auto Care and Banner University Medical Center are hosting uniformed first responders to a free lunch at one of the following Jack Furrier locations: 

  • 5852 E. Speedway Blvd.
  • 4291 W. Ina Road
  • 7846 N. Oracle Road
  • 370 W. Grant Road 
  • 51 E. Valencia Road

Here are the stories behind the Heroes Day winners:  

TSgt David Velarde was on a morning jog when he came upon a man and his dog being viciously attacked by a Pitbull.  TSgt Velarde stepped in and was able to halt the dog’s attack on the man and his dog.  They were both severely injured and needed to be transported to the hospital for further treatment. They both survived thanks to TSgt Velarde.  Not everyone would throw themselves into a dangerous situation like he did, TSgt Velarde is a true hero.  

OVPD Lieutenants John Teachout and Christopher Olson were traveling north on I-17 when they observed that there was a vehicle on the side of the road with smoke coming out of it. Teachout and Olson pulled over to see what was going on and if they could assist in any way. After talking with the driver, they found out that, in her panicked state, she forgot her children in the car, strapped in their car seats.  Teachout and Olson immediately ran to the car and removed the two children. Shortly after that the vehicle erupted in flames. Teachout and Olson remained on the scene to assist with scene security and after completing this, gave the woman and her two small children a ride to Cordes Junction to reunite with their family. 

tPD Officer Mike Pelton responded to a call at the intersection of 22nd St. and the I-10 for a report of a male running through traffic attempting to end his life. The male was suffering a mental health crisis and was running in front of moving vehicles exiting the I-10. When Pelton arrived he had to run into the traffic in an attempt to get the subject to stop, also risking his life. He grabbed the subject and started fighting with him in the middle of the street. Traffic continued to drive around them, and one subject stopped to film and yell insults at Officer Pelton. He was able to hold the subject down in the middle of the street until additional units arrived to help with the situation. Officer Pelton’s actions helped save this man from ending his life that day.  

Heroes Day Honorable Mentions 2016

SrA Joshua R. Jones and SSgt Lorin E. Schlect were on their way back to Davis-Monthan AFB from Fort Huachuca. They were each driving a vehicle and were merging onto the I-10 when they saw a car lose control and flip multiple times, ejecting a passenger. SrA Jones and SSgt Schlect were the first to respond to the ejected female passenger, who was unconscious lying face down. It was apparent that she had sustained serious facial trauma and was showing symptoms of traumatic brain injury. The victim slowly regained consciousness, complaining of pain and becoming combative due to the traumatic event. Fortunately, they were able to keep her stabilized until EMS arrived.  

Sergeant Erik Maldonado and Deputy Adam Schoonover responded to a welfare call involving a 5 and 7-year-old girl. Their father had made a drunken phone call to his ex-wife asking if she wanted to talk to her daughters “one last time”. When Sergeant Maldonado and Deputy Schoonover arrived they heard shots fired inside the home. The father had shot both of his children in the head and then took his own life.  The worked furiously to provide first aid to the girls, but it was too late. Even after they had left the scene, they made themselves available to the family at all times. They spent a significant amount of time with the grieving family, providing emotional first aid. Their heroism continued and is evident in their efforts to care for the surviving family.

While driving off duty one day, Tucson Firefighter Cole Mayfield saw smoke and headed towards it to see how he could help. When he arrived he found out there was a house fire with two victims trapped inside. He assisted the Drexel Heights Fire District with resuscitation of a fire victim and made himself available wherever he was needed. When the victims were removed from the house he helped in placing them into the ambulance and rode in the ambulance to the hospital to assist the Drexel Fire crew with the patient and provided necessary medical care throughout the transport.

Paramedic Jonathan Black and Firefighter Adam Lutes responded to a 911 call that came in for a motor vehicle accident.  Once they arrived on scene, they determined this would require a swift water rescue, as the car had crashed into a running wash.  They rapidly entered swift floodwaters down a steep and muddy 20-ft embankment secured only by throw-bag ropes.  The victim was down stream and was injured but alive, as he started to move he stumbled back into the water and began to slip further down into the floodwaters. With visibility low and a safe working space limited by railroad track, various structures, and the wash itself, this rescue required a rapid deployment using available resources.  With considerable difficulty the victim was secured, treated, and transported to Banner – UMC.

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