City honors police, fire heroes

October 1, 2005

Hood River Firefighter Paul Henke delivered a Chihuahua puppy on Sunday – a little more than 24 hours before he was to be honored by city leaders for service “above and beyond the call of duty.”

Henke, also a paramedic, was a little surprised to be called upon to play the role of veterinarian. But after eight years as an emergency responder, he had learned to expect the unexpected.

So, when a Hispanic couple pulled up to the fire station off May Street on Sept. 25, he went into action.

The first order of business was to find an interpreter since his clients didn’t speak English. Firefighter Jeremy Cervantes filled that niche and Henke quickly learned the dog owners could not reach their veterinarian. And they were worried about the tiny dog’s ability to deliver puppies on her own.

So, Henke donned his latex gloves and cleared off a work bench to serve as a delivery table. Within the next few mintues he had gently helped ease one puppy out of the birth canal and suctioned its mouth and nose.

He had a moment of worry when the newborn’s heart rate slowed and he appeared to be having difficulty breathing.

“I was almost thinking that I’d have to do CPR when he pinked up pretty good and his heart rate picked up,” said a relieved Henke.

He thought there might have been a couple of other puppies inside the dog’s womb — but she wouldn’t let him get close again.

“When she growled at me I knew that we were done,” said Henke. “I did tell the owners that if they had more problems they could come back and we would see what we could do.”

Hood River Asst. Fire Chief Devon Wells said Henke was honored on Monday by Mayor Linda Rouches and the council for just that kind of service. In August, Henke helped raise $10,300 for families living with neuromuscular disease. Each year, Henke spearheads the Fill-the-Boot campaign to bring in revenue for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

“He definitely shows his dedication to helping others and that is the very essence of a firefighter – to always be there to meet a need,” said Wells.

Henke said the recognition for his work on behalf of children was unexpected. He said it was only right that the community support youth who were living with severe health problems. He said his true reward was getting smiles of thanks from children who, because of local contributions, were able to pay the $500 tuition for a special week-long camping adventure.

“I just want to make their lives a little better,” Henke said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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