DES MOINES, Iowa – As someone passing by in a moment of distress, and especially when someone’s life is in danger, lending a helping hand seems as if it would be second nature. But for six Iowans Friday morning at the Iowa State Fair, Governor Branstad and other state officials made sure to point out that “nothing compares” to their courage in saving someone’s life.
Awards were given to six Iowans who helped in some capacity with saving the life of another; the awards range in merit, from “Outstanding” and “Meritorious”, for those who helped get someone out of a dangerous situation and receive medical help, to “Lifesaving” and “Lifesaving with Valor”, for those who directly saved the life of another, without risking or by risking their own life, respectively.
While Friday morning brought a continuous pouring of rain, one woman in the crowd said she wouldn’t miss the awards for anything – the woman who saved her life was being recognized.
“This woman put her hands through the window and held my neck still, and she had the most beautiful brown eyes,” said Molly Urfer, of Grinnell, on her experience after a dangerous car accident. “And she said to me, ‘I will stay with you until the ambulance comes’.”
Urfer says her husband lost his life in the accident, and while she felt a severe pain in her neck at the time, she was preparing to move out of her seat to help him. That’s when Paula Lash, of Runnells, intervened to help.
“Had she not done that, my neck would have been twisted, and there were two terrible results: I could have succumbed with my husband, or I could have been paralyzed,” she said. “So I’m a very lucky woman that Paula saved my life, and my quality of life.”
The Governor’s Livesaving Awards were started in the 1970s.