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First responders honored at rodeo for saving man’s life in February

First responders honored at Marble Falls Rodeo

Several Burnet County first responders were recognized July 15 at the Marble Falls Rodeo for saving the life of Blair Brown after the truck he was driving went into a pond in February. Pictured with Brown (center in dark blue shirt) are Spicewood Fire and Rescue firefighters Johnathan Wojtewicz (left), Kiel Arnone, Eric Wuensch, Andrew Hunt, and Donald Conely, and Marble Falls Area EMS emergency medical technician Whitney Williams and paramedic Tiffany Adams. Not present was Spicewood firefighter Dakota Meyer. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

On a cold evening in February, three Spicewood Fire and Rescue firefighters jumped into a pond to pull out the lifeless body of Blair Brown, whose pickup truck crashed through a fence before fully submerging in the water.

After getting him to shore, other first responders, including other Spicewood firefighters, a Marble Falls Area EMS crew, and the Burnet County Precinct 4 constable, helped resuscitate Brown, saving his life. 

On July 15 during the Marble Falls Rodeo, spectators and local and state officials recognized the heroic efforts of the nine first responders. 

Spicewood firefighters Johnathan Wojtewicz, Eric Wuensch, and Dakota Meyer earned the Burnet County Medal of Valor for risking their own lives in the frigid pond. The Life Saving award went to firefighters Kiel Arnone, Donald Conely, and Andrew Hunt, Marble Falls Area EMS paramedic Tiffany Adams and emergency medical technician Whitney Williams, and Constable Missy Bindseil for their efforts in saving Brown.

Burnet County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery and EMT Whitney Williams
Burnet County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery (left) pins the Life Saving medal on Marble Falls Area EMS emergency medical technician Whitney Williams during the Marble Falls Rodeo on July 15 for her efforts in saving a man’s life in February. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

According to the report read out by rodeo announcer Ricky Bindseil, the constable’s husband, during the July 15 ceremony, a call came in at 5:41 p.m. Feb. 22 reporting that a truck had gone through a fence and landed in a Spicewood pond. The caller told the dispatcher the driver was still in the truck and was trying to get out as the vehicle was sinking.

The three Spicewood firefighters arrived, put on their bunker gear, jumped into the pond, and swam to the submerged truck. Their first attempts to break a window failed. After the other first responders arrived, Constable Bindseil tossed her expandable baton to the firefighters in the water. 

By then, the three firefighters had been in the cold water for about 12 minutes. With the baton, they broke the truck’s back window, grabbed the driver, and dragged him to shore, where CPR was started. An AirEvac helicopter was called and launched from Marble Falls just before 6 p.m.

As the helicopter was landing nearby, Brown regained a pulse.

Ricky Bindseil pointed out the heroics of the first responders that day in February during the July 15 ceremony.

“Not only do we all think they deserve recognition, but we want you to know that superheroes do not only exist in the movies; they are standing in front of you right here,” he told the crowd.

Martelle Luedecke contributed to this report.