The Jonas Project recognized as a Hometown Hero by Red Cross


The Jonas Project recognized as a Hometown Hero by Red Cross

Officer Donald Thompson, Michael Trousdale and George Poole don’t know each other. But all three risked their lives and played vital roles in saving a man trapped in his wrecked burning car.

The three are among 19 local residents who will receive a hero’s welcome Thursday at the 10th annual Hometown Heroes Award Luncheon sponsored by the Greater Long Beach Chapter of the Red Cross.

Those being honored either saved lives, attempted to save lives in emergency situations or were otherwise involved in saving or helping others. They’re people like Esperanza Correa, a teacher at a Long Beach nursery school, who saved a student who was choking and had stopped breathing, or Special Olympian Ethan Brown, whose call to 911 helped his father.

The others being recognized are:

  • Lakewood business leader John Kelsall and his wife, Teri, who started a foundation to help veterans with business loans and mentoring in memory of their Navy SEAL son, Jonas, who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan;
  • Little League parents Elizabeth Eckel, Shannon Eckel and Rico Guajardo, who came to the aid of a boy suffering sudden cardiac arrhythmia after being hit with a pitch;
  • Jeff Grogan, an off-duty EMT who helped a jogger who was severely injured when she was hit by a car;
  • Alicia Moshier, a CSULB student who aided a fellow student who collapsed in the gym;
  • Joe Lane, who attempted unsuccessfully to save an elderly neighbor from drowning;
  • Daniel Camarillo and Chazz Siqueiro, security guards in Lakewood who briefly revived a man before he later died at the hospital;
  • Melinda Maready, whose alertness helped Carson police capture suspected robbers; and
  • County of Los Angeles crisis response volunteers Joan Davis, Rosana Silva and Barbara de Lima.

Certainly, Thompson, Trousdale and Poole have the most dramatic tale. The three separately witnessed a car careen, crash and catch fire on the I-405 near the I-101 interchange on Christmas Day.

Thompson, off-duty with the LAPD, went to aid the driver, who was unconscious and belted into the car. Thompson suffered burns to his hands pulling the man from the car before collapsing himself from the smoke and fire. Trousdale helped Thompson to safety away from the car, while Poole pulled the injured man to safety.

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