GOSHEN, Mass. (WWLP) – First responders were honored for saving a life along the Westfield River in Cummington in July of 2020.

The Hampshire County Emergency Medical Services held their annual award ceremony last week which honored firefighters, EMT’s, and a 911 dispatcher for saving a man’s life through rough terrain who suffered head injuries after falling approximately 20’ onto rocks near the edge of the Westfield River.

The following people were recognized for saving his life:

  • Deputy Chief Kim Dresser
  • Lieutenant Steve Estelle
  • Retired Captain Bob Labrie
  • Firefighter Hannah Labrie
  • Retired Chief Sue Labrie
  • Chief Cameron Lacey
  • Firefighter Dillon Neveu
  • Captain Monica Neveu
  • Captain Jonathan Schwaiger
  • Firefighter River Williams
  • Firefighter West Williams

In late July of 2020, temperatures were in the 90s and the coronavirus pandemic has just begun months prior. Crews from Cummington along with Goshen, Chesterfield, and Plainfield firefighters, and members of Highland Ambulance, assisted with the rescue. They staged at the Route 9 rest area near Wilder Road.

The rescue team carried medical supplies across the Westfield River and hiked about a mile through Gilbert A. Bliss State Forest to a popular swimming location. The crew traveled off the path to where they located the man in need of help. The rescue team loaded the man in a stokes stretcher and carried him by hand toward Route 9.

A bucket truck operated by former Cummington Fire Chief Bernie Forgea hoisted the stokes stretcher up the final 20’ embankment to paramedics from Highland Ambulance. He was brought to a Life Star helicopter waiting at Pettingill Memorial Field off of Main Street in Cummington and flown to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.