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Courageous efforts of men who saved child honored

At the Marquette Fourth of July parade earlier this summer, two men immediately jumped into action when disaster struck, and their courageous efforts did not go unnoticed.

Justin Gustafson and Eric Johnson were honored with lifesaving awards presented by the Marquette City Commission Monday night.

“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.”

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.

Marquette Mayor Fred Stonehouse said being able to give Gustafson and Johnson the recognition they deserved was a treat for him.

“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.

W. Clement Stone said, “Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.” These two men are prime examples of this. On the morning of the Fourth of July, they showed the strength of their character by helping a little girl in need, and we are glad to see their actions are being commended.