Two state troopers will receive annual awards

State Troopers Jack Walker and Tony Nelson will receive awards for saving the lives of two Oklahomans last year. They will be honored with the 2001 Trooper of the Year awards for humanitarianism and heroism respectively.

On Oct. 27, 2001, Walker stopped a pick up truck in Atoka for running a stop sign. The driver informed the trooper that he was trying to get to a phone to call for help for a man who was having a heart attack at his residence. Walker quickly got directions and while en route to the victim's residence, called for medical emergency assistance.

With the help of Tushka Police Officer Buddy Sanders who also arrived at the residence, both officers administered CPR. Medical personnel later credited the officers for saving the man's life. Walker will receive the Trooper of the Year award for humanitarianism.

Nelson is credited for saving the life of an 18-year-old woman who sustained injuries in a boat accident that left a propeller imbedded in her right thigh. He was called to the scene of an accident on Lake Thunderbird, May 26, 2001. Upon arrival at the Clear Bay boat ramp, Nelson saw that Tamra Carpenter was in a life-threatening situation.

"When we arrived, a man was holding the victim up out of the water at the back of the boat," said Nelson. "I jumped out of the patrol boat and saw that she was losing massive amounts of blood."

Nelson went under water and saw that the embedded propeller was dangerously close to the woman's femoral artery area. He decided that if he removed the propeller it would increase the loss of blood, possibly endangering her life.

Nelson improvised by placing a tourniquet on her leg as the girl fell in and out of consciousness. Even small waves that drifted into the shore caused Carpenter intense pain.

"Tamra would scream out in pain every time the boat was rocked by waves," said Nelson. "By that time, there were several bystanders on the shore. We quickly corralled them into the water forming a human wall to minimize the waves and Tamra's pain."

Trooper Kurt McKean assisted Nelson by locating tools to remove the prop from the shaft to free the victim.

"We had a difficult time finding a wrench that would fit the prop nut so we could remove the propeller from the boat," said Nelson. But the troopers were successful as they disengaged the propeller and safely transferred Carpenter to a backboard and then onto a gurney to be transported by ambulance to a hospital.

Doctors later attributed Nelson's quick decisions as vital to saving the victim's life. Nelson will receive the Trooper of the Year award for heroism. He was also the recipient of the International Association Chief of Police Southern Region Trooper of the Year, chosen from troopers nominated in a 12-state area.

The Jerry Marx Memorial Award will be presented to Tyler Media, the Daily Oklahoman and KWTV Channel 9 for their promotion of traffic safety and indepth, factual coverage of news and events regarding public safety throughout 2001. Jay Dunham, Operations Manager for Tyler Media, will be presented a special recognition award to be announced at the luncheon.

Media are invited for taping and subsequent interviews at 12:45 p.m. The event will be held at the Oklahoma Station Bar B Q restaurant, 4333 Northwest 50th in Oklahoma City sponsored by Highway Users.