First responders honored for heroism, service

By The Examiner staff

The call came to Blue Springs police at about 2:40 a.m. April 9, 2020. 

The woman calling in said she had tied a rope around her neck and was thinking about jumping off her apartment balcony.  

Communications Officer Zach Cobb is the one who took the call. He promised to talk with her until officers arrived. He told her everything would be OK, he assured her that she had value, and he told her she had done the right thing by calling. 

As the two developed a rapport, he got her to remove the rope just before officers arrived. Police Chief Bob Muenz said Cobb’s quick thinking and communication skills were crucial in saving the woman’s life. 

For those life-saving efforts in a span of less than three minutes, Cobb was given an award for heroism – along with dozens of others who also were honored – at last Thursday’s First Responders Recognition & Awards Luncheon. The event is organized by the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce. Sponsors included the chamber, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Blue Ridge Bank & Trust, and The Examiner.  

The event in 2020 was delayed because of the pandemic, so awards were given covering two years of actions. 

Blue Springs Detective Carolina Yeager was cited for dedication. She works with victims of domestic violence and was nominated by Hope House.  

“She understands the dangers of domestic violence-ridden relationships and the dynamics of abusive behavior and how that affects clients and their participation in the system as well as reaching out for help,” Muenz said. 

Blue Springs Det. Reed Kotake, a military veteran involved with the First Responder SAFETY mission of HeroFundUSA and currently on the Metropolitan Cyber Crimes Task Force, was given an award for community service. Inspector Marc Stigall visits every school in the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District to reinforce “lifelong risk-reduction lessons” and was given an award for community service. 

Others were cited for heroism in dire situations. BSPD Officer Tiffany Briggs and CJC Captain Samuel Murphy applied tourniquets to the arm and leg of a badly injured motorcyclist before EMTs arrived. BSPD officers Chris Madland and Anthony Corona saved the life of a 15-year-old girl who had passed out in a bathtub, was breathing slowly and had no pulse. Captains Kyle Ralston and Josh Sidebottom of the Southern Jackson County Fire Protection District saved someone trapped in a truck on its side after a collision with a train. 

Among the winners for heroism: 

• Firefighter/paramedic Ryan Brinkman, Central Jackson County Fire Protection District. 

• Engineer/paramedic Jeff Gale, CJC. 

• Firefighter/paramedic Caleb Volmer, CJC. 

• Firefighter/paramedic Nathan Neske, CJC. 

• Dispatcher Robert Vaughn, Kansas City Fire Department. 

• Captain Kyle Ralston, Southern Jackson County Fire Protection District. 

• Capt. Travis Bloomingdale, SJC. 

• Engineer Matthew Ferguson, SJC. 

• Captain Josh Sidebottom, SJC. 

• Firefighter/paramedic Lucas Pilgrim, SJC. 

• Firefighter Ryan Miller, SJC. 

• Captain Steve Wilson, SJC. 

• Engineer Chad Carpenter, SJC. 

• Communications Specialist Jami Davis, Lee’s Summit Fire Department. 

• Communications Specialist Grant Oetting, Lee’s Summit Fire Department. 

• Communications Officer Zach Cobb, BSPD. 

• Officer Trent Epperson, BSPD. 

• Officer Kyle Sanderholm, BSPD. 

• Officer Amber Murray, Lake Lotawana Police Department. 

• Sgt. Garrett Butz, Lake Lotawana Police Department. 

• Officer Anthony Corona, BSPD.