MADISON — On October 6 Gov. Scott Walker presented Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Division of State Patrol awards to individuals who demonstrated exemplary service and courageous actions, including saving lives.
At the awards ceremony at the State Capitol in Madison, State Patrol Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald said, “Our agency celebrated its 75th anniversary on Sept. 1. And during our 75-year history, the men and women of the State Patrol have shown exceptional dedication to making our highways and communities safer. But the award recipients have demonstrated exemplary courage and expertise that go beyond the State Patrol’s high standards for traffic and public safety. Furthermore, their commendable actions typically were performed under stressful and dangerous conditions.”
The following locals were honored with awards from the WisDOT Division of State Patrol:
• Trooper Robert Unruh of Glenwood City (Meritorious Service Award) — Trooper Robert Unruh responded to a fire at a residence in Roberts in St. Croix County on Jan. 7, 2014. Upon arrival at the scene, Trooper Unruh saw heavy smoke coming from the home. He conferred with another officer and learned there was a person still inside the house. Heavy smoke had impeded previous rescue attempts. Trooper Unruh put on his issued gas mask and entered the house. He moved to the location where the female subject was last seen. Despite heavy smoke that limited visibility, he was able to find the subject and pulled her from the house. Shortly after the rescue, the fire flashed and blew out the windows. The house was then fully engulfed in flames. The victim was transported to a hospital where she later died of burn-related injuries. While putting himself at great risk, Trooper Unruh acted courageously and at great risk to his own safety. For this heroic effort, he was presented the Meritorious Service Award. This was Trooper Unruh’s second Meritorious Service Award.
• Trooper Bruce Wozniak of Hudson (Lifesaving Award) — Trooper Bruce Wozniak responded to a crash in St. Croix County on Oct. 19, 2013. The driver of one vehicle sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported to a hospital. The driver of the other vehicle was fatally injured and three children were seriously injured—two critically. Upon arriving at the scene, Trooper Wozniak was directed to assist an emergency medical technician (EMT) with the extraction of a child in the rear seat whose legs were trapped and urgently needed lifesaving medical services. Trooper Wozniak worked rapidly, using his bare hands, to free the child’s legs from under the driver’s seat as an EMT cleared the child’s airway. For his persistent efforts under stressful conditions, Trooper Wozniak received a Lifesaving Award.