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South Metro FOP Member Receives Lifesaving and Unit Commander Award
Updated On: Apr 29, 2014

South Metro FOP Lodge 14 member and retired Richfield Sergeant Tom Fitzhenry was enjoying a fly-in at Cherry Grove Air Park located several miles south of Wannamingo, MN.

At about 3:00 in the afternoon the day suddenly turned dramatic as the crowd watched an ultralight aircraft lift off and make a left turn. The left wing dropped unexpectedly and the aircraft crashed into a corn field. Capt Fitzhenry (Civil Air Patrol) and several others ran to the aircraft and observed a female passenger trapped in the rear seat. The woman was in grave danger, as she was entwined in the wreckage and fuel was spilling upon her.

Capt Fitzhenry helped free her from her seat belt and then lifted up the wreckage, including the engine, and pulled her out. Capt Fitzhenry and others then were able to move her safely away from the aircraft, which continued to leak fuel. Capt Fitzhenry stayed with the passenger, even though both were soaked in fuel, until the Wannamingo Emergency Rescue Team arrived.

The passenger later thanked Capt Fitzhenry and the others for pulling her out. She stated, “I could not breathe. I was being crushed and I had a hot engine and gas on me”. Capt Fitzhenry put his own life at risk to save the life of another person. Rendering aid to a person in an emergency under such extreme conditions, as Capt Fitzhenry did, reflects great credit upon himself, Minnesota Wing, and Civil Air Patrol.

Congratulations Capt Fitzhenry!

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