Four-month-old Zachary Lefko was wide-eyed and attentive yesterday as his parents talked about how a Carroll emergency dispatcher helped save his life.
"I don't remember much about it. But I remember this much -- the baby was turning blue," father Scott Lefko said with tears in his eyes.
Zachary was 2 days old and choking on mucus. His father called 911 and dispatcher David W. Nelson answered. Mr. Nelson sent an ambulance and was about to tell Mr. Lefko how to start life-saving procedures when Mr. Lefko hung up.
Mr. Lefko and his wife, Maggie, were panicking at their Westminster home. But the computer showed the Lefko's phone number, and Mr. Nelson called back. He gave instructions to Mr. Lefko, who relayed them to his wife.
Zachary was breathing again in a minute and a half, Mrs. Lefko said.
The boy has been fine ever since.
Yesterday, county officials honored Mr. Nelson and five other employees who performed outstanding deeds.
Four of the employees received Humanitarian plaques; the other got an Employee Appreciation award. About 50 people attended the afternoon ceremony at the county maintenance center on Meadow Branch Road.
The employees were nominated by their co-workers or supervisors. The county employees' ombudsmen committee makes the awards quarterly.
Others honored yesterday were:
* Jean J. Farrell, receptionist at the Bureau of Aging.
In July, Mrs. Farrell received a call from a Westminster woman in her 70s who said she wasn't feeling well. From the sound of the women's voice, Mrs. Farrell realized the illness could be serious.
Mrs. Farrell called the Health Department, which sent a nurse to the woman's home. The nurse sent the woman, who had a serious heart condition, to the hospital immediately.
Mrs. Farrell said she calls the woman, who has no family, daily to check on her.
* Russell W. Cain, Jeffrey A. Myers and Richard D. Utz, employees of the Bureau of Roads Operations.
On July 27, the three were working north of Manchester when they saw smoke coming from one side of a duplex on Schalk Road No. 1.
Mr. Utz radioed for help, while Mr. Cain and Mr. Myers ran to the house to make sure nobody was home in either side of the duplex.
"Due to their quick thinking, the house was saved and no one was hurt," co-worker Henry Matthews said.
* George E. Thomas Jr., assistant director of emergency management in Emergency Services Operations.
Mr. Thomas coordinated an effort to get $280,000 in federal money to pay for snow removal in the county and its towns after the March blizzard.
The county received $250,000, which paid about 75 percent of the snow removal cost, said Benton Watson, chief of the Bureau of Roads Operations.