Mount Airy fire company honored by Shock Trauma; Firefighters credited with saving victims of Memorial Day crash


To those who were injured in a Carroll County automobile accident last Memorial Day weekend, the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company is full of angels.

To the 1,000 or so who attended a recent black-tie gala, these are exactly the kinds of angels that make Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore a leader in caring for those with critical injuries.

"The gala [was] an opportunity for us to pay tribute and show our support for the hard work of all the people who stand ready every day to save the lives of people injured by trauma," said Frank Kelly, chairman of the Shock Trauma Center Board of Visitors.

Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company was especially grateful to be honored this year because it marks the Shock Trauma Center's 30th year of saving lives. Also honored at the gala was a network of caregivers across Maryland.

Because of their quick response to an accident nearly a year ago, 11 members of the Mount Airy fire department received the Shock Trauma Hero Award. The award is given annually to a rescue team in Maryland whose performance and professionalism in an extraordinary situation helped save a life.

The recipients were Becky Brown, Gene Mellin, Dale Lowman, Mike Pappas, Mike Murphy, Charles Hamilton, Steve Lichtman, Brian Hornick, Kenny McDonough, Walter Hood and James Linton.

A number of Winfield Community Volunteer Fire Department members who assisted at the accident also were honored at the dinner.

That Memorial Day weekend was life-changing for two women injured in an accident on Route 27 near Gillis Falls Road.

Sandra L. Conner of Eldersburg and Katy L. Tabler of Westminster were riding in a car driven by Alexandra H. Koustenis of Mount Airy.

According to police reports, the driver stopped to make a left turn at Gillis Falls Road and her vehicle was struck from behind by an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer loaded with milk. Koustenis and the truck driver, Jeffrey D. Usilton of Taneytown, were treated at Carroll County General Hospital in Westminster and released.

The other two women suffered more serious injuries, especially one trapped in the back seat. She was in critical condition when emergency personnel arrived. With the added assistance of a Maryland State Police paramedic, she was rescued quickly and flown by helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Mount Airy Chief Gene Mellin said, "The department medics treated as many people as they could, but most of the effort was put toward the back passenger, who was in the worst shape."

Shock Trauma officials credited the department's efforts at the scene with saving the women's lives.

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