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Good Samaritans Are Feted

By Susanne Rockwell on January 21, 2000 in University News

Tom Ferguson, director of Employee Health Services, thinks his 17-year-old son, James, is a hero for helping to save a man's life. James says his physician dad is the real lifesaver.

UC Davis police officers believe both father and son, as well as a passing paramedic, Brian Alexander, deserve recognition for reviving a Kentucky man from a heart attack nearly 15 months ago.

The Fergusons and Alexander are among 13 people selected by the police department to receive Citizen Appreciation Awards at a luncheon ceremony on campus today.

Other award recipients were honored for helping UC Davis police do their job better-from catching a birdnapper and other criminals to improving security and fostering good relations between the police department, campus, neighboring communities and the news media.

James Ferguson, a senior at Davis High School, was on his way to soccer practice Oct. 26, 1998, when he looked out the car window and saw a jogger spin and fall to the ground at the corner of Russell Boulevard and Oak Avenue.

His mother, Sara Ferguson, stopped the car, and James got out to check on the man while she went across the street to the Employee Health Center to get her husband. Tom Ferguson ran out and began resuscitating the unconscious man. Alexander, who had been driving down Russell Boulevard, stopped and helped give first aid soon after.

Doctors and police believe that quick action by James Ferguson and the cardiopulmonary resuscitation, given by Tom Ferguson and Alexander in the minutes before an ambulance arrived, was critical in saving the man's life. William Read, a Louisville, Ky., resident who was attending a conference here, revived an hour later in the Sutter Davis Hospital emergency room.

James said he was glad he and his mother happened by when they did because other passersby who stopped to help Read apparently were unaware a doctor worked across the street.

Since the incident, the UC Davis Fire Department has obtained an automated defibrillator, which delivers shocks to the heart to reset its rhythm. Campus firefighters used the device for the first time last Friday to help revive a groundskeeper who suffered a heart attack.

Other citizen-award winners were:

o Sophomore Jaime Frayne, whose clear description of a late-night intruder in her apartment at the Cole Facility horse barn last Jan. 28 enabled police to catch a burglar and recover a cockatoo stolen three days earlier from the Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital.

Frayne says the experience taught her a lesson she never learned in her tiny hometown of Tonopah, Nev. "It just made me think to lock my door much more," she said. "In Tonopah, we never locked anything."

o Sara Dougherty, a medical center doctor who helped police track down a man and two women suspected of breaking into her car and stealing her driver's license, credit cards and other forms of identification last June. Police says her assistance helped detectives get a search warrant and break up a Sacramento identity theft ring.

o Aggie Host student-patrol members John Barg and Philip Williams for spotting a naked man walking near Putah Creek Lodge before dawn last April 22 and promptly notifying police. Arrested soon after, the man told officers he had just been paroled from prison.

o Marty Gothard, director of the medical center's dietary department, for installing security equipment in the Ellison Ambu-latory Care Center cafeteria, allocating funding to save two protective service officer jobs from budget cuts, and providing other support for law-enforcement officers.

o Student Jennifer Tate who provided quick and detailed information that helped police catch a man who had exposed himself to her last April 12.

o Tom Rempher, a medical center administrative analyst whose "observation, quick thinking, good description and willingness to get involved" enabled police to arrest a man he had seen vandalize a car.

o Student Programs and Activities Center Director Ted Adams for "his many years of service to the campus community and the UC Davis Police Department," promoting the campus Principles of Community and fostering communication between students and officers.

o Paul Pfotenhauer, broadcast specialist for the campus News Service, for his help for years in planning and emceeing the Picnic Day police K-9 demonstration and for speaking on media relations to a California Police Officers Association conference held here last April.

o Custodial services employee Merri Anne Page whose accurate description led to the arrest of a employee she saw steal a stereo from a parked car last June.