DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa Department of Public Safety recognized five men on Monday with the Sullivan Brothers Award of Valor. The five Sullivan Brothers from Waterloo all lost their lives while serving in the U.S. Navy.
On Monday, four members of the Marion Fire Department were recognized by Governor Kim Reynolds for their efforts in rescuing a truck driver in a vehicle partially submerged in water. Firefighters Jeff Hoover, Peter Lammer, Jeremy Smith, and Zachary Bruce were recognized for the incident that happened on December 8th, 2016.
“The call came in for a semi that had rolled over and was in the water,” said Peter Lammer, who was off-duty but lived nearby. “These two, Jeremy and Zach, were already in the water trying to help this gentleman.”
Bystanders said after the truck went into the water, no person was seen escaping. The divers found the truck driver was trapped in an air pocket.
“When we got out there and we couldn’t see him, but we heard his voice the entire time," said Jeremy Smith, who was in the water with a wet suit. “He was just saying 'help me' the entire time, and we were just reassuring him that we were working on it and we were going to get to him.”
Another first responder recognized on Monday was Trooper Dustin Henningsen, who saw what he thought was a car with a radiator problem in the Bettendorf area in February of 2017. After investigating, he saw the car was becoming engulfed in flames, with a driver trapped inside.
“I went back to my vehicle, I had a crow bar in the trunk, so I started off hitting the driver’s side rear window," said Henningsen. “I hit it and hit it and couldn’t get it to break.”
The flames began to get higher, and the trooper had to back away--but only for a moment.
“Eventually I was able to go around to the passenger side where the heat wasn’t as bad," said Henningsen. “After several minutes of striking the window, I got it to break.”
The driver made a full recovery and Henningsen was treated for smoke inhalation.
“I was just so thankful that God allowed me to get the guy out, I was just so thankful.”