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North Pinellas good for you for April 20

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On a recent patrol of the Intracoastal Waterway aboard Coast Guard auxiliary vessel Broad on the Bow, coxswain Karen Miller and crew members Ann Bennett and Rob Mancuso spotted what they thought was a white plastic shopping bag floating in the water.

Upon closer inspection, they discovered it was actually a young egret struggling to swim with water-logged wings, its head barely breaking the water's surface.

Once the bird was safely retrieved from the water, a call was placed to Larry and Barb O'Brien, fellow Coast Guard auxiliary members and founders of Gulf Coast Bird Rescue. Within 20 minutes, Larry O'Brien met the crew at Clearwater's Seminole Street boat ramp to receive the egret.

The first thing O'Brien did was tip the egret upside down to remove any water that it may have swallowed. He also was concerned about the bird going into shock from swimming in 66-degree water and being totally water-logged. In his experience, egrets usually didn't do well in these types of rescues. Although not very optimistic about the bird's recovery, he left with the inert egret in a cage.

The following day, O'Brien called with good news. He thanked Bennett, Mancuso and Miller for their quick action and let them know that the young egret had recovered fully after being treated for hypothermia. He also informed them that the bird had no major injuries and had been released near the area where it was rescued.

Broad on the Bow and her crew of Bennett, Mancuso and Miller belong to the Clearwater Flotilla, while Larry and Barb O'Brien belong to the Dunedin Flotilla of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. All members of Division 11, which extends from Madeira Beach to Hudson. Their missions mirror those of the active duty Coast Guard with the exception of law enforcement and related activities.

• • •

Sunstar Paramedics team members James Bryant and Jay Horne recently attended three days of celebration and education in Washington, D.C., where they were awarded the Star of Life from the American Ambulance Association. It is the highest national honor an emergency medical service worker can receive.

The Star of Life awards recognize the nation's top ambulance service professionals, including paramedics, EMTs, dispatchers, customer service representatives and other operations personnel. The 2014 awards honored 82 professionals in the EMS industry.

Bryant, an assistant supervisor, joined Sunstar in 2009. He began his EMS career in 2005, working as a firefighter, EMT and paramedic. He was recognized as the 2013 Paramedic of the Year by Dunedin-Palm Harbor VFW Post 2550 for outstanding patient care, moral and ethical behavior and leadership within Sunstar and the Tampa Bay community.

Bryant serves on Sunstar's special events team and All Children's Hospital's transport team. He also volunteers with Shriner's Hospital, Masonic Cardiac Medical Research Foundation and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Horne, an EMT, has worked with Sunstar since 2012. He was among the first emergency responders, alongside Sunstar's Christopher Jennings, on the scene of the tragic lawn mower accident that injured Ireland Nugent. Ireland, who was 2 years old at the time, had to undergo two below-the-knee amputations.

Horne assisted in transferring Ireland to the Bayflite crew, exhibiting professional emergency response skills with the highest level of calm and competence under such an emotional situation. Since the accident, Ireland has had a successful recovery and is walking well with the help of prosthetics.

"James and Jay truly exemplify what the Star of Life award represents," said Mark Postma, chief operating officer of Sunstar Paramedics. "We are thrilled to have them recognized among the nation's best emergency medical service professionals, as they both play an integral role at Sunstar and in the community."

Sunstar is the 911 ambulance transport service for all Pinellas County residents, employing 550 local residents and responding to around 500 calls a day.

Mail Good For You items to Tampa Bay Times, 1130 Cleveland St., Suite 100-A, Clearwater, FL 33755; fax to (727) 445-4119; or email nbeall@tampabay.com.

North Pinellas good for you for April 20 04/18/14 [Last modified: Friday, April 18, 2014 5:08pm]
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