What some of us call a daring act of self-sacrifice, of putting another’s welfare above our own, of going above and beyond the call of duty, a few local public servants called “just another day.” That’s how California Highway Patrol Officers Lisa Beaudette and Robert Nevins described their role on Aug. 1 when they helped save Evan Bright’s life. El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Crawford arrived at the rescue in progress.
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The 22 year-old Bright was trapped in his car after hitting a tree off Mother Lode Drive. The car was filling with smoke and flames. Bright was bleeding and disoriented and combative and stuck.
Beaudette was first on the scene, trying to extinguish the fire and extricate the victim. “Aug. 1 was just another day … I got a call to go help someone,” Beaudette said at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. The county had summoned the three to present them with certificates recognizing their “life-saving acts of courage.”
Nevins was second on the scene. He said he grabbed his fire extinguisher and tried to tamp down the flames as Beaudettte worked at getting Bright out. In a clinical tone Nevins said, “Typically, the occupant is not trapped and the vehicle is not fully engulfed, but due to the kind and extent of the damage, it was very difficult to extract him.”
Compared to how it might have ended, Nevins said, “There’s a young man who’s going to enjoy his life.”
Deputy Crawford explained that the other two are the “real heroes” and that his part was to help pull Bright to a safe area behind a fire engine. “Due to facial injuries and head trauma, he was fighting us. He was not a happy man,” Crawford said.
Supervisor Brian Veerkamp, himself a veteran first responder, changed the tone saying, “It was not just another day… It went well this time. You went over and beyond (the call of duty). And you’re being very modest about extraordinary acts of courage.” It was Veerkamp who initiated the board’s action to honor the trio for their work.
Supervisor Ray Nutting said, “You put yourself in danger of your life. Thank you.”
A standing ovation from the supervisors, staff and the audience concluded the ceremony.