DAMASCUS TWP.— Supervisors Joseph Canfield, Steve Adams and Daniel Rutledge praised the efforts of local heroes Russell Yerkes and Brian Diehl for their selflessness earlier this month.
The two men – Yerkes a township employee and Diehl a resident – stopped to assist an elderly woman out of her house while it was on fire, explained Canfield at the supervisors' monthly meeting.
Canfield pointed out that many others in the same situation may not have noticed the burning building or may not have stopped even if they did.
“Long story short, the township would like to recognize these guys for local heroism in saving this woman's life.”
Adding to this sentiment, Adams later stated “I think it's important to recognize the people who go out of their way to help others.”
He also stated that exceptional volunteer service such as what Diehl and Yerkes contributed and what local fire and emergency medical service (EMS) departments provide are a boon to the township both in terms of the lives they protect and in the money they save by volunteering.
Attesting to the danger Yerkes and Diehl faced, Rutledge stated, “They put their lives on the line!” Something, he said, few other are able or willing to do.
The supervisors presented a certificate of recognition to Yerkes who was present and honored Diehl in absentia as he was unable to make it to the meeting.
Also there to honor Yerkes' and Diehl's efforts was Joseph Davis Sr., President of the Damascus Township Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
Davis mentioned an event earlier in the year, after Blizzard Stella blanketed the county in snow, where Yerkes was on scene even before EMS arrived.
He was digging out a path so paramedics could reach a trapped person in their house.
“[Yerkes] was there, digging away, trying to get into that house to save that individual,” said Davis.
Yerkes interjected to praise the efforts of the EMS responders there as well.
Davis continued, “On behalf of the Damascus Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the citizens we serve, I wanna recognize and thank Russel Yerkes and Brian Diehl … for their bravery and quick action in rescuing one of our local citizens from a fire.
“In a world where if often seems like 'it's all about me,' you men set a mighty example of self-sacrifice and concern for your fellow man.”
Davis concluded by stating the twp men set a good example of what it means to be community-minded and care for fellow citizens.
“We are blessed to have young men like you in our community.”
Canfield also recognized the efforts of Damascus Township's local fire and EMS responders for aiding the fire that day.
Speaking to the trials faced by volunteer fire and rescue teams, Rutledge said, “These guys risk their lives everyday.”
In the event of rushing in to help at a burning building or accident, “these guys don't think nothing of it,” he said.
Yerkes accepted the certificates in humble silence. He declined further comment about the matter when asked.