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‘Truly a heroic situation’

Marquette City Commission honors 2 men for saving life of girl injured at Fourth of July parade

From left, Marquette City Police officer Tim Forslund, Eric Johnson, Justin Gustafson, Marquette City Police Chief Blake Rieboldt and Marquette Mayor Fred Stonehouse are pictured as Gustafson and Johnson are presented with lifesaving awards from the Marquette City Commission at Monday night’s meeting. Gustafson and Johnson were honored with the awards due to the actions they took when a 9-year-old girl was injured and went into cardiac arrest after an accident at the Marquette Fourth of July parade route. (Journal photo by Cecilia Brown)

MARQUETTE — Quickly taking action in an emergency situation can make all the difference.

An example of this occurred at Marquette’s Fourth of July parade earlier this summer, when two men came to the aid of an injured 9-year-old girl after an accident during the parade.

“It was truly a heroic situation,” Marquette Police Chief Blake Rieboldt said, adding the city wanted to recognize the two men for actions that “I honestly believe saved this young girl’s life.”

Due to their efforts, area residents Justin Gustafson and Eric Johnson were honored with lifesaving awards presented by the Marquette City Commission Monday night.

“The opportunity to recognize people for doing something truly heroic — something that makes Marquette a very special place and especially something that saves a human life, a child in this instance — is just a wonderful thing,” Marquette Mayor Fred Stonehouse said.

When the accident occurred, Gustafson and Johnson sprung into action and performed CPR on the young girl after she was run over by a vehicle in the parade on the 1000 block of West Washington Street, Rieboldt said.

“We had a serious accident during the Fourth of July parade in Marquette. A 9-year-old girl who was participating in the parade was accidentally run over by a float parade trailer. That instance caused her to go into cardiac arrest,” Rieboldt said. “Mr. Johnson and Mr. Gustafson were right on scene when this happened and were able to render aid and begin the CPR process. Through that process, it allowed us — Officer (Tim) Forslund and myself, who were at the tail end of the parade on the parade detail — to respond and call the appropriate EMS personnel to come and arrive on scene.”

Once responders arrived on the scene, they transported the girl to UP Health System-Marquette, where she received treatment before being transferred to a hospital in Milwaukee, Rieboldt said.

“I’m proud to report that the individual has made a full recovery and is back doing what a 9-year-old likes to do,” he said.

Many are grateful for the lifesaving efforts and positive outcome, Stonehouse emphasized, telling the men they “honored all of us” with their actions.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.

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