COALMONT -- Five local volunteer firemen were recently recognized for answering the call of duty.
"We don't give out too many awards for valor," Assistant State Fire Marshal Mike Bigler told the crowd of more than 100 people attending the awards presentation ceremony at the Lewis Township Fire House. "But these men went above and beyond the call of duty. They put their lives on the line to save another person."
Lewis Township Volunteer Fire Department firefighters Lt. Shane Husband, Shawn Husband, Nathan Adams, Jordan Rash and Bryan Husband (who was incident commander) were honored
The ceremony was disrupted twice when 911 dispatchers toned the department out to an emergency. Each time firefighters jumped to respond to the call.
"That shows the dedication of these men," Bigler said. "That spirit is why we are here."
On Dec 22, 2009, emergency response personnel were dispatched to Wise Farms, 13264 South County Road 200 West, north of Howesville. While working in the bin, Michael "Mike" Lacy, 28, Linton, fell through a corn bridge and was slowly being crushed by the 30,000 bushels of corn inside the 32-foot-tall grain bin.
Brothers and fellow firefighters Shane and Shawn Husband were first to arrive on the scene. Although the department's firefighters trained extensively for a grain bin emergency rescue, the practice training had not been actually implemented prior to Dec. 22.
However, the brothers quickly worked together to make access to the grain bin and get help to the victim. Upon entry, Shane discovered Lacy was trapped 10-feet below the remains of a dangerous overhang of a corn bridge and covered in the grain up to his chin.
"When I told Shane I didn't think I was coming out of there alive, he said, 'I'll get you out,'" Lacy told The Brazil Times about the dangerous rescue. "Shane was my friend before this. He stayed in the bin with me longer than anyone else."
Meanwhile, two other firefighters -- Nathan Adams and Jordan Rash -- entered the grain bin. They helped to remove corn from around Lacy while firefighters and several farmers outside worked together to make crucial cuts in the sides of the bin to help safely remove 15,000 bushels of corn.
Captain Bryan Husband, father of Shane and Shawn and incident commander during the rescue attempt, was also recognized for his involvement in organizing/coordinating the massive rescue effort that took several hours.
"We've trained for this type of rescue, but never had to do it before," Bryan said about the department's response when the chips were down. "It really wouldn't have mattered who showed up first. But, because of that training, our guys were ready when the call came."
"This was really a group effort," Shane, speaking on behalf of the modest group, told The Brazil Times. "Everyone there that night -- from firefighters, police officers to the farmers, and there were a lot of them -- they all helped make this a successful rescue. These awards are for our department, not just us."
Officials confirmed the dangerous situation: Grain is usually removed from the center of a bin by the auger, but the auger in this particular bin was malfunctioning.
Trapped inside, struggling with fear as the corn moved and tightened around his body, Lacy said, "They told me, 'We'll leave when you leave.'"
However, the honored firefighters said Lacy played an integral role is his own rescue, as did the farmers.
Having someone at his side that night was good for Lacy, who believes a higher power was at work.
"Thank you doesn't do justice for what they did for me. We all know each other, even went to school together. I've farmed all my life and Shane and I have worked together on the farm. We'd talked before about the 'what ifs' if ever (Shane) had to come help me," Lacy said. "Now it's happened. I owe Shane so much. I was more fortunate than most (victims of grain bin accidents). Most people trapped in that situation don't make it out alive."
For Lacy, life's a lot different now because the rescue wasn't the end of the story.
"I've talked a lot with the guys, especially Shane, since December," an emotional Lacy said. "I think I've cried all day. These guys put their lives, their families, on hold to do this job. It's nice to see them recognized today, but I say thanks to these firefighters each time I drive by the fire department. When you're younger, you spend your childhood looking for heroes. I don't have to look for heroes anymore."
Five volunteer firefighters were recently honored for their valor in saving a man trapped in a grain bin in December.
The following agencies were represented at the ceremony and presented the following awards:
* District 46 Indiana State Representative Vern Tincher presented the department with a state flag,
* Indiana Homeland Security Hazardous Materials Specialist and Master of Ceremonies Stan Capobianco and Assistant Indiana State Fire Marshal Mike Bigler presented each of the firemen with a medal of valor, lapel pin and a certificate,
* Don Hixon recognized assisting agencies by presenting plaques to Lewis Township and Jasonville Fire Departments,
* Indiana Volunteer Firefighter Association Tim Decker presented Medal of Valor to each of the firefighters,
* Indiana Fire Chief's Association representative Terry Rake presented plaques for a successful rescue,
* District 39 Indiana Senator John Waterman presented Senate Certificates of Appreciation.
Other agencies which received recognition include the Clay City, Coal City, Wright Township and Hymera volunteer fire departments, TransCare,
Greene and Sullivan county ambulance services and the Clay County Sheriff's Department will receive certificates.