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Kentites Honored for Heroic Deeds

Kent Police officer, Kent State students recognized for bravery by American Red Cross

Three Kent men were honored Saturday by the American Red Cross as Real Heroes.

Officer James Ennemoser, along with students Eric Johnston and Jared Atkins, along with University of Akron student Paul Marschik, are among the 2012 Real Heroes award recipients being recognized in Aurora at the American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties annual award ceremony.

The men are being honored for their heroic deeds performed in Kent in 2011, which included:

The Red Cross retells the stories of the men's heroic deeds below:

Students Save Professor from Fire

It was late October and already well after dark when long-time high school and college buddies, Jared Atkins and Paul Marschik, dropped some friends off at their residence on the corner of Depeyster and Columbus Streets near Kent State University after an evening at the movies. Jared headed for his car parked nearby as Paul slowly backed his own car out of the driveway and headed for home – or so he thought. As Paul eased his car along the quiet street, a strange light in the front window of a nearby house caught his attention. A graduate of The University of Akron with an associate degree in fire protection, Paul immediately recognized that the interior of the house was on fire even though no flames were as yet visible. Quickly, Paul put his car in reverse and headed backwards down the street to where Jared was just getting into his car. “That house is on fire,” called out Paul to his friend as he pointed down the street. Parking their cars, the two friends ran to the house as Paul called 911 on his cell phone. By now flames were obvious along the front of the house. When Paul remained on the phone providing the location of the fire to the Kent Fire Department, Jared immediately began investigating the house alarmed by the fact that someone might still be inside. Within moments, he heard cries for help. He quickly located a side door up a short flight of stairs. Although the door was unlocked, it appeared to be partially blocked and Jared could only open it a few inches. But that was enough for him to see an elderly woman lying on the floor pleading for help. Smoke was quickly filling up the room. Jared called for Paul and the two strained with all their might to open the door wide enough for Paul to reach in and take hold of the woman’s outstretched arm. Jared used his body to brace the door open just enough to allow Paul to pull the woman outside to safety. As the heat, flames and smoke began to overwhelm the house, Paul and Jared carried the woman down the stairs and across the street. Jared ran back to their friends’ house to obtain some blankets to keep the woman warm against the cold autumn air and to help prevent her from going into shock after her ordeal. As Jared returned with the blankets, police and fire units arrived but the house was already completely swallowed up by flames. An ambulance arrived and took the woman to Children’s Hospital’s burn unit because of her injuries – the two friends would later learn that the woman whose life they had just saved was Constance Mellott, a professor emeritus from Kent State University. It was only then that Paul glanced at his watch. It had been a mere five minutes from the time he had noticed the “strange light” until the house was fully engulfed. A little luck and an act of courage by the two friends was the difference between life and death that night.

Student Pulls Girl from Cuyahoga River

Sometimes being a hero just means being in the right place at the right time. AND doing the right thing. Eric Johnston, a Senior Music Major at Kent State University, was enjoying a break between classes with some friends on a warm, sunny day in May. They had wandered into Kent’s downtown area and then along the Cuyahoga River. As the group walked along the riverfront, Eric noticed a father playing with his young son and daughter along the river’s edge. Eric watched horrified as the little girl climbed upon some rocks, slipped and plunged backwards into the river. Normally, the river flowed placidly along this stretch. But today the river was raging swollen by recent heavy rains. Although her father immediately waded in after her, the swift-moving current was rapidly carrying her away from him. Wasting no time, Eric ran to the river’s edge as he yelled back to his friends to call 911. Eric waded into the water down river from where the girl was. He felt the sting of the frigid water and its power as it tried to push him off his feet. But he waded on against the surging current – fortunately here, the water was not too deep. He pushed on until he was alongside the terror-stricken little girl – close enough to where he was able to reach out and grab her as she was swept by in the torrent. Step by step, Eric forced his way back to the shore clutching the little girl in his arms. The water was more shallow now and he was joined by his friends who had waded out to helped the pair back to shore. There, Eric was met by the girl’s frantic, but relieved father. Tearfully, lovingly, he cradled his daughter in his arms while he quietly thanked the Real Hero who had saved her life.

Cop Saves Boy from Drowning

It was an unusually hot day for late spring. Kent City Police Officer James Ennemoser was on patrol with his partner, Aiko, a trained German Shepherd police dog. Officer Ennemoser was monitoring radio traffic when he heard a rescue call from the Kent City Fire Department. A 16-year-old male had entered the Cuyahoga River near downtown Kent for a swim, but the river’s swift current – bolstered by recent heavy rains – had swept him downriver. Officer Ennemoser immediately headed for the nearby Kramer Ball Fields which lay alongside the river. As he got out of his cruiser, Office Ennemoser heard people screaming and pointing upriver. He had arrived in the nick of time. But he had no water rescue equipment with him. Thinking quickly, he grabbed his K9 partner’s lead and harness and ran towards the river. From the bank, he saw three people in the water, the teenager, who was struggling to keep his head above the water, and a man and a woman who had waded out hoping to help but were thwarted by the swiftly moving current. Officer Ennemoser knew he had but one chance before the teenager would be swept past him and into the rapids further downriver. He caught the teenager’s eye and threw the K9’s harness at the swimmer -- but just then, the fast moving current pulled the teenager underwater. His heart leaped into his throat as Officer Ennemoser feared the teen was lost and began to pull the harness back to shore. But wait! There was weight at the other end of the lead. Officer Ennemoser silently hoped that the teen had either succeeded in catching the harness or had become entangled in it. He continued to pull until the 16-year-old’s head and then his shoulders emerged from the water. By now the teen had reached the slower water near the river’s edge and was actually able to catch his footing and stand up. Officer Ennemoser took the teen’s outstretched hand and pulled him onto shore where he immediately collapsed. A Kent paramedic arrived just at that moment and began to examine the teenager. Although exhausted and suffering from mild hypothermia, the teen was otherwise OK thanks to Officer Ennemoser’s quick thinking and fast actions.

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