Two local heroes were honored for their acts of heroism during the fourth annual Valley Preferred Spirit of Courage Award Celebration at Lehigh Valley Hospital Muhlenberg, Bethlehem.
The program was started locally by Valley Preferred, Lehigh Valley Health Network and the Burn Prevention Foundation, to recognize persons who go "above and beyond" to perform a heroic act to save someone from burn deaths or injury.
Honored were two officers of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Scott Christman, Waterway Conservation officer and David Roberts, Deputy Waterway Conservation officer. The two men were stocking fish in the Pohopoco Creek in Franklin Township when an Amerigas propane driver was delivering fuel to the Pazzazz Boarding Kennel and there was an explosion and fire.
As flames shot 70 feet above the trees, Roberts called the communications center to dispatch a fire truck to the scene. They found the truck and kennel fully ablaze. They also found the truck driver, Tim Kleinhagen, whose clothes were aflame, behind a locked chain-link fence. Christman and Roberts helped the injured driver to safety. Kleinhagen was flown by MedEvac helicopter to the Lehigh Valley Hospital Burn Center and is recovering at home.
Valley Preferred, a partnership of doctors and hospitals, sponsored the program to raise public awareness regarding burn safety and prevention.
"We're proud to do our part to honor those who have done an outstanding job of preserving health through acts of heroism and promoting fire safety and burn prevention education," said Valley Preferred executive director and CEO Gregory Kile.
"The Valley Preferred Spirit of Courage Awards provides a unique opportunity to honor those who put themselves in harms way to save lives and prevent burns," said Dan Dillard, director of the Burn Prevention Foundation. "It's our way of thanking them for the sometimes thankless job that they do."
Lehigh Valley Health Network includes three hospital facilities two in Allentown and one in Bethlehem; eight health centers caring for communities in four counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices throughout the region; pharmacy, imaging and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred.