NASELLE -- Washington State Patrol District 8 Commander Captain Steve Sutton presented John E. Davis with the prestigious WSP Citizen Award of Merit February 7 in Naselle. Region 2 Supervisor Lieutenant Steve Smeland and Sergeant Freddy Williams also were on hand to honor Davies as Sutton said, "On behalf of WSP Chief John R. Batiste and Governor Christine Gregoire, please accept the Citizen Award of Merit in appreciation of your life-saving efforts on August 17, 2007."
Sutton explained during the presentation, "On August 17 a 1988 Ford flatbed truck was eastbound on SR 8 near Elma. At about 1:30 p.m. the truck went off the roadway to the right, struck a large tree and burst into flames. The truck was occupied by driver Matthew Langley and passenger Paul Orris. Both subjects were trapped within the truck that became fully engulfed in flames."
Sutton said, "John E. Davies and two other men ignored the flames and smoke and pulled the extremely burned passenger from the truck and carried him to a safe location. Unfortunately the driver perished in the accident. The three citizens faced grave danger from the burning vehicle as they pulled Orris from the wreckage."
Sutton added, "Mr. Orris faces a very long and difficult period of recovery, but because none of the three rescuers were willing to retreat until they had accomplished their goal, they without a doubt saved his life. These gentlemen personify the Good Samaritan attitude and deserve our respect and gratitude today."
Davies responded by saying, "It was no bid deal. We just did what anyone would have done in the situation. As I volunteer fireman I'm trained to do this kind of thing." Sutton said, "We at WSP feel it is important to take the opportunity to honor citizens any time they do the kind of thing Mr. Davies did. He did not hesitate. His actions were awesome. It is very clear that Davies and the other two citizens rose to a higher calling and deserve our respect and gratitude."