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Airman Honored for Saving Patient from Submerged ND Ambulance – JEMS.com


A Williston Fire Department ambulance in North Dakota crashed in icy water on Thanksgiving night 2019.
A Williston Fire Department ambulance in North Dakota crashed in icy water on Thanksgiving night 2019. (Photo/Ward County Sheriff’s Department)

A Good Samaritan who jumped into action to help rescue an elderly woman from a flooding ambulance in North Dakota was honored for his heroism.

For his efforts, Tech. Sgt. Ryan Fontaine of the 219th Security Forces Squadron at Minot Air Force Base, received the Woodrow W. Keeble Award on March 6, Stars and Stripes reported. The award recognizes “courage, fortitude and determination to protect or defend life, limb or property.”

Fontaine was driving on U.S. Highway 83 on Thanksgiving night 2019 when he saw the submerged ambulance. The ambulance crew had escaped by breaking a window with an ice scraper.

Gov. Doug Burgum, right, presents The Woodrow W. Keeble “Je Suis Pret” (I am Ready) Award to Tech. Sgt. Ryan Fontaine, of the Minot Air Force Base based-219th Security Forces Squadron, as Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, the North Dakota adjutant general looks on during a ceremony at the North Dakota Air National Guard Base, Fargo, N.D., March 6, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nathanael Baardson)

The patient in the box was unable get out because the cab was twisted. The crew was unable to break the rear windows with a fire extinguisher.

The rescuers were finally able to break a window using a jack from Fontaine’s vehicle. Another man named Woody Valdez-Perez provided a tow-rope to use so Fontaine and ambulance crew member Hasan Abdul-Jabbar could rescue the patient from the back.



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