hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

March 7, 2013

A hero among us

City police officer honored for treating boy with head injury

By Bruce Amaro

---- — When Haverhill police Sgt. Brian Proulx arrived at the scene of a reported accident, he immediately knew the teenage boy involved was in trouble.

“You could see it was serious,’’ Proulx said. “He split open his skull.’’

While patrolling the Golden Hill Avenue area the afternoon of July 17 of last year, Proulx responded to the scene of an accident in which a 13-year-old boy riding a bicycle down a hill collided with a car stopped in an intersection.

“He hit the car head-on,’’ Proulx said. “The boy was on the ground and bleeding from his head injury.’’

It took Proulx just three minutes to respond to the incident after several witnesses made 911 calls to the police station. Proulx put his first responder and CPR training to work at the scene.

“He was able to immediately assess the severity of the trauma suffered by the 13-year-old boy and, without delay, requested a med-flight helicopter be dispatched and began life-saving measures on the young boy,” said police Captain Michael Wrenn.

“I called ahead for a helicopter, so that there was one waiting for him at the Merrimack Valley Hospital when the ambulance arrived there,’’ Proulx said. “They have a pad there for the helicopters to land and take off from.’’

While Proulx waited for the ambulance to arrive, retired firefighter Thomas Garrett who happened to be at the scene, helped stabilize the injured cyclist.

Ambulance workers arrived and took over. They prepared the boy for his trip to the helicopter and the flight to Children’s Hospital in Boston.

For his quick thinking and calmness under pressure, Proulx will receive a First Responder Hero’s Award from the American Red Cross at the 11th annual Community Heroes Breakfast on March 21. The Red Cross of Northeast Massachusetts will hold the breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Double Tree by Hilton Boston North Shore in Danvers.

Proulx described the scene of the accident as somewhat chaotic, and said the driver of the car struck by the cyclist was shaken up. The boy was not wearing a helmet, making the injury more severe than it could have been, Proulx said.

“He had a pretty good gouge in his skull from the impact,” Proulx said.

The Red Cross said about 500 people from businesses and non-profit groups across the region usually attend the breakfast. The event recognizes individuals from local communities whose exceptional acts helped others.

“Community Heroes are those who have shown courage, dedication and character through extraordinary acts of heroism and kindness and have made a commitment to the community,’’ the Red Cross said in a release describing the breakfast. “These inspiring individuals, from all walks of life, are proof that one person can indeed make a difference in the lives of others.”

All proceeds from the fundraiser breakfast benefit American Red Cross Local Disaster Relief. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/ma/peabody or call 978-922-2224.