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Two souls saved

October 28, 2018 GMT

STERLING – Two men involved in terrifying and horrific accidents are alive today thanks to the efforts of local first responders.

Those responders, and the others who aided in the team efforts, were honored during GOP state Sen. Neil Anderson’s First Responders Appreciation Breakfast.

The U.S. Senate passed legislation last year recognizing Oct. 28 as National First Responders Day.

At Anderson’s request, chiefs from area departments nominated firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians, who were presented with state Certificates of Recognition for “going above and beyond the call of duty” at the breakfast Friday at the Candlelight Inn in Sterling.

Sterling Fire Department Chief Gary Cook nominated Deputy Chief Michael Dettman, Capt. Matthew Laughlin, Lt. Tim Wright, firefighters: Cory Bianchi, Adrian Avelar, Clark Liedberg, Derek Sheaves, dispatchers: Twin Com and Stacie McKenzie; medics Chad Hartman and Kyle Pletsch; and second ambulance techs Randy Scott, and Jason Schneider.

On Nov. 8, 2016, they helped rescue a man electrocuted in a power line accident on 23rd and Locust streets, near Circle K.

Jordan R.M. Zulauf of West Chicago was below low-hanging power lines, in extreme pain from burns, and crews used pile poles to hook onto is belt and drag him from under the wires, Cook said.

Life-saving measures were administered before he was airlifted to OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford.

Zulauf, who lost both arms, turned 25 on Oct. 23. You can follow his progress on his Facebook page.

His uncle, Robert Zulauf, 32, also of West Chicago and owner of Zucru Communications, was killed.

Rock Falls Police Chief Tammy Nelson nominated Sgt. Jon Cater.

On Dec. 20, Cater responded to a fully involved house fire, kicked out a basement window and pulled a man who was trapped inside to safety, Nelson said in her nomination.

“Anytime there is danger, your first response is to get away, but not for first responders,” said Anderson, a Moline firefighter from Andalusia who is running Nov. 6 against Democrat Gregg Johnson of East Moline for the 36th District seat.

“Their everyday acts of selflessness and courage – not knowing if they will return to their family after their shift – deserve honor and praise.”