Thirty-eight Iowans, including two four-year-old boys, were given “Governor’s Lifesaving Awards” today during a ceremony on the State Fairgrounds. Governor Tom Vilsack says in the post-September 11th world, we’ve come to recognize the country’s “true” heroes. Vilsack says the “true heroes are not the powerful, wealthy, famous or athletically-gifted.” True heroes, according to Vilsack, are those “who on a particular day serve a higher calling and understand there’s something more important than just simply themselves.” Department of Public Safety Commissioner Kevin Techau called the group “a fine example of citizenship and a reminder of the best qualities of our country’s ideals.” Among the honored, the two DOT workers who discovered Lindsey Thomas after she’d been stranded in her wrecked car for five days. Thomas, who was on hand for today’s ceremony, says if it weren’t for Arlen Olson of Alexander and Steven Snow of Swaledale, she wouldn’t be alive. The two men saw tire tracks leading into a ditch, and discovered Thomas’ car below. Thomas remembers Snow climbing onto the roof of the car and talking to her. Thomas’ story of survival has gained national attention. Both her legs were amputated below the knees, and now she walks on prosthetics. Four-year-old Zack Van Den Top of Rock Valley received an “outstanding service” award for alerting his mother to a fire which investigators later found had been caused by a space heater in the dining room. And four-year-old Ryan Smith of North English was honored for running to get help when a tractor overturned on top of his dad. Full list of honorees and their acts of valor.
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