Park Workers’ heroism, quick thinking save capsized boater

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(pictured, from left: Ron Mills, Tyler Piccuito and Matt Blankenship. Not pictured is Jimmy McCoy)

from Metro Parks and Recreation staff
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Four Metro Parks and Recreation Forestry Division workers displayed bravery and quick thinking on the afternoon of Dec. 27, 2016, as they saved a man from drowning and hypothermia exposure at Long Run Lake.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 27, a passer-by stopped the crew, consisting of Matt Blankenship (Forestry Supervisor 1), Tyler Piccuito (Forester I), Ron Mills (Forestry Supervisor 1) and Jimmy McCoy (Forestry Supervisor II), and alerted them that the man had fallen from the boat near the Long Run Lake Dam and was clutching its side in the frigid water.

Immediately, Blankenship, Piccuito, Mills and McCoy took action, locating the man near the dam, on the eastern portion of the lake. They entered the water and pulled the man to shore when instinct and training took over, taking off his wet clothes and then covering him with their own dry clothes, including their jackets, to keep him warm and calm before the Anchorage Fire Department and EMS showed to assist.

The man, was taken to the hospital by EMS, was treated and released.

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Jimmy McCoy

“I’m very proud of these men for recognizing the danger this citizen found himself in, and for the quick and decisive action they took in possibly saving his life,” Parks and Recreation Director Seve Ghose said. “It’s also a testament to what type of guys these are that they didn’t take a split second to consider the danger they were placed in. They simply saw someone who was in need – and allowed that to become their immediate priority without regard to their own safety.”
Blankenship, Piccuito, Mills and McCoy are the second Metro Parks and Recreation crew to assist in a dangerous situation within the last several months. On August 18, park workers Ricky Duncan and Bryan Haynes lifted a vehicle off a man who was pinned beneath in the Clifton Neighborhood, saving him from serious injury.

“It’s good for all of our employees to be aware of what to do when placed in a challenging situation outside their core duties,” Ghose said. “Our primary goal is to serve the public. You never know what you might be faced with in that capacity, and these are two great examples of what our workers are capable of doing when the situation calls for it.”

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