Nine men honored for heroism by Molalla Fire District
Molalla Fire District honored nine men who saved the life of a 10-year-old girl when they pulled her and her mother from an overturned car in Milk Creek last November.
On Nov. 19, 2016, a two-car accident on South Union Mills Road sent a car into Milk Creek, where it rolled onto its top in the fast current. Trapped inside the car was Germaine Kollias, 46, and her only daughter, Elia, 10.
As each of the nine men arrived on the scene, they pulled over their vehicles and rushed to help the mother and daughter.
Jumping into the icy water, the men used the fast-moving current to flip the vehicle onto its side and pulled the young girl through the sun roof of the car to safety. The rescuers also tried to assist her mother, who had sustained life-threatening injuries, said MFD Battalion Chief Mike Naylor, one of the Molalla first responders at the scene.
"They performed CPR for the mother, and when we arrived, we brought her back with CPR and got them both to OHSU," Naylor said. "The little girl was all right - she was cold from the water, but not injured. Sadly, her mother died a few days later at the hospital."
Germaine Kollias died on Nov. 23.
At Wednesday night's Citizens Award ceremony, Anthony Kollias, Elia's father, had a hug for each of the nine men as he handed them their award plaques. Kollias is a sergeant with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.
Eight Citizen's Awards for "Acts of Heroism" went to Brandon Hood, Michael Tschaggeny, Ty Russell, Tim Robinson, Todd Turcott, Jason Kern, Ryan Black and David Fowler.
Cody Ringheim was presented the "Above and Beyond the Call of Duty" award for heroism.
Ted Kunze, who presided over the ceremony, said the awards were presented on behalf of the Molalla Fire District, a grateful family and community.
"When I heard what happened and what you guys did, I was truly impressed," Kunze told the award recipients. "Nine strangers came together and stepped up to make a difference. We are so proud to have people like you in our community."
It was standing room only at the ceremony, attended by a record crowd of family, friends, military personnel and community members.
"This is a great crowd," Kunze said, noting that it was the largest crowd he'd seen at an awards event. Kunze also gave recognition to the first responders lined up along the back of the room, thanking them for all they do for their community.
A Molalla resident, Staff Sgt. Ryan Black is a Field Artillery soldier assigned to the Canby Army Recruiting Station and one of the recipients. Black will be awarded an Army Commendation Medal for heroic actions. He credits his army combat life saver class for his efforts that November day.
"I drove up to a bad situation, and without thinking twice I pulled over to help," he said. "The situation did escalate quickly, but there was no way I was going to stand around and do nothing. I ran to the water and did what I had to do," Black said.
Kyran Noble, 10, and his brother, Braden Pierce, 13, are the sons of Brandon Hood, one of the award recipients. "Our dad saved a little girl's life," Kyran said following the ceremony. "We are really proud of him."