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Deputies honored for saving lives

Pasco County deputies and other employees were among those given awards for their deeds.

As members of the sheriff's traffic enforcement team, Deputy George Winton and Cpl. Rusty Steele try to prevent people from dying by arresting drunk drivers on Pasco County's roads.

But one night last September, Winton and Steele saved a life in a much different way: They performed CPR on a man having a massive heart attack on the side of U.S. 19. Doctors said Donald Demik would have died if the deputies and two passersby hadn't stopped to help.

"I deal with a lot of drunks on the road who are always telling me I'm ruining their lives because they decided to drive drunk," Winton told the Times last year. "It's a real good feeling to think you might have really helped save a guy's life."

Winton and Steele were among seven Pasco County sheriff's deputies who received a Life Saving Award from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Lee Cannon also gave awards to other law enforcement, corrections deputies and civilians recently.

Several were singled out for their heroism in 1999:

Cpl. Ken Petrillo pulled a man out of a burning car and won the award, as did Cpl. Wayne Morris for a separate car fire incident.

Deputy Robert Jones and Sgt. Raymond Stanley administered CPR to a woman having a heart attack, which allowed her to live long enough to be transported to the hospital.

Cpl. Mark Moe calmed and treated a man who had attempted suicide.

Cannon also gave awards to 17 other employees:

+ Cpl. Jeffrey A. Potts received the Law Enforcement Deputy of the Year award.

+ Cpl. Ricky L. Branscomb received the Corrections Deputy of the Year award.

+ Tara A. Matheus won the Civilian Member of the Year award.

+ Cpl. Dennis M. Nottoli received an award for being the Field Training Officer of the Year.

+ Deputy Eugene Mimnaugh was given the Corrections Training Officer of the year award.

+ Lt. Phyllis Davis received the Meritorious Service Award for Accomplishment for overseeing the change in the way child abuse investigations are handled.

+ Cpl. David L. Buhs was given the Sheriff's Special Recognition award. Buhs created a program to track and monitor habitual offenders and another that tells first-time juvenile offenders about the dangers of gangs.

+ Deputy Robert Miller received the Meritorious Service Award for Courage. Miller confronted an armed robbery suspect outside of the Shoney's Restaurant in Wesley Chapel in April 1999.

+ Lt. Kathy Brown, Sgt. Traci Armas and Deputy Patrick Moccaldi, all members of the corrections accreditation unit, received a Sheriff's Special Recognition award. Law Enforcement Accreditation Unit members Capt. Kim Bogart, Sgt. Stacey Morrison and administration secretary Lori Collins also won this award.

+ Mary H. Sota was given a Sheriff's Special Recognition award for creating fire evacuation route drawings for the county jail.

+ Capt. Alan S. Weinstein also received a Sheriff's Special Recognition award for his volunteer work around the county.

+ Detective Darcy A. Ganter won a Sheriff's Special Recognition award for painting a mural in the cafeteria at the Land O'Lakes jail.

_ Tamara Lush is the police reporter in Pasco County. She can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6245 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6245. Her e-mail address is