Greene County first responder to be honored at Colts game on Sunday

Thursday, October 29, 2009
Submitted photo COLTS ANTHEM ANGEL: The Indianapolis Colts will honor Nick Powell (left) as an "Everyday Hero" during the Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday. Powell is one of eight first respondents named as Colts "Anthem Angels" in 2009. Powell is a paramedic with the Bloomington Hospital Ambulance Service and serves as a volunteer first responder, firefighter and reserve officer in Worthington and as a medic on the Bloomington CIRT team. He's pictured with his partner Anita Shapiro.

There are a lot of everyday heroes in Greene County -- firefighters who jump and run, police officers who respond to frantic 911 calls, EMTs who come to the rescue, and social workers who offer helping hands. The list could go on and includes people who are paid to serve the public and volunteers who serve without any compensation at all.

Every one of them has done something for someone that has turned them into a hero to that person or family in a time of need, but they don't always get recognition for the good deeds they do day after day.

This Sunday, one of Greene County's first responders is going to be recognized for his work in front of thousands of people at the Indianapolis Colts game in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Nick Powell is one of only eight 2009 honorees of the Colts Anthem Angels program, sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Colts.

The "Anthem Angels - Honoring Everyday Heroes" program was established by the Colts and Anthem to pay tribute to Hoosier "First Respondents" who may have received "little or no recognition for the strides they have made to help others in human-service related professions."

One Anthem Angel is honored at each one of the Colts home games.

Powell is a Greene County native who lives in Worthington with his wife, Tanya.

He's a graduate of EMT, Inc. who works full-time as a paramedic for the Bloomington Hospital Ambulance Service (BHAS).

Powell has been riding the ambulances for BHAS since 2005 but previously worked for the Greene County Ambulance Service.

Off-duty, he has served seven years as a first responder/EMT and volunteer firefighter for the Worthington Fire Department and has served six years as a reserve officer for the Worthington Police Department.

In Bloomington, Powell is also one of six BHAS paramedics who are members of a special SWAT-like group called CIRT, or Critical Incident Response Team, and serve as their medics on the scene.

Powell received two nominations to be an Anthem Angel -- and one was from his mother. Many Angels are nominated by close friends and family members.

Powell is the son of Lorena and Nick Powell, Sr. and Lorena admits she is a cheerleader for her son.

"I have so many people who tell me about something Nick has done to help them and I nominated him. I guess I just wanted to do something to recognize him and let him know how proud I am of him and what he does," said Lorena. "He's so compassionate. He has a servant's heart."

In the nomination letter, Lorena told a story about a Worthington family whose 1-year-old baby girl, Kennsli Fiscus, daughter of Matthew and Destiny Fiscus, suddenly stopped breathing and became unresponsive. They were visiting at Destiny's parents' home when it happened in March 2008. One person called 911 and another called Nick Powell.

Powell remembers getting the call. He said he and another Worthington first responder, Mike Steward, arrived at the fire station seconds later, jumped in the rescue truck and headed to the house. No ambulance is stationed in the town and it would be at least 12 minutes, possibly more, before an ambulance crew could get there.

The first responders can administer immediate care in those first few crucial minutes of an emergency and in this case, the family credits Powell with saving the baby's life.

The situation was intense. Powell administered oxygen until the ambulance crew arrived, then rode with the child to the hospital and stayed with her until she was stable.

Mitzi Vaught of Bloomfield remembers when Powell was working on a Greene County Ambulance crew that took her to the hospital then transported her to Indianapolis.

Vaught was pregnant and had toxemia. In an emergency room with several male medical personnel present, a situation arose that was embarrassing for Vaught and she felt uncomfortable with the men. She said Powell was the one who sensed her need, brought it to their attention and took immediate steps to fix her problem.

Vaught said it wasn't really a big thing, except to her.

"He was so professional and so sweet. He drove the ambulance on the way to Indy and he let me know each town we came through and he kept talking to me all the way," said Vaught.

Vaught's daughter, Emma, weighed a little over two pounds when she was later born premature. She's a healthy 5-year-old now and Vaught tells her daughter about the everyday hero who helped them.

In Worthington, Powell is one of 15 volunteer firefighters. Ten of them are certified first responders, and six of those are EMTs or paramedics. With a wide range in age, they benefit from the experience of Jimmy Noel, who has been on the department for over 50 years, and Don Dupire, for 27 years, and Mike Steward, for 25 years.

Steward says they also benefit from the training the younger ones have received.

"We have several young, ambitious first responders coming up and we all benefit from their education and training," said Steward. "I learn something every time I go on a run with them. Nick is a very conscientious person, and he loves the work that he does."

Powell does love his work, but he's reluctant to be called a hero and he wasn't expecting to be named an Anthem Angel.

However, he's a Colts fan and is very excited about going to the game with his wife and his parents.

The Colts are giving Powell a VIP parking pass, four tickets to VIP seats, a package of Colts items, and individual recognition on the field.

He'll also be featured in an article in the game-day Colts program and be recognized on the Colts Web site for one week following the game.

The Colts game against the San Francisco 49ers will be broadcast by FOX Sports. Kickoff time is 1 p.m.

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  • Nick we are all so proud of you!

    -- Posted by bborter on Thu, Oct 29, 2009, at 7:45 PM
  • This is such an amazing story! Nick was a responder when my 1 year old daughter was having a seizure. He was so professional and caring. He helped me through a difficult time and calmed me down when I felt helpless. Congratulations Nick and thanks for all you do.

    -- Posted by sarahnyorkie on Thu, Oct 29, 2009, at 8:46 PM
  • Nick saved my life and the life of my son who was born at only 7 months without Nick being there and acting so quickly we both would not be here my son is going to be SIX years old thanks to Nick!!! Congrats

    -- Posted by Aug on Fri, Oct 30, 2009, at 10:38 AM
  • The citizens of Greene County are blessed to have so many volunteer firefighters, first responders, and reserve police officers. These heroes make our county a much safer place to live. It is wonderful that Nick is getting the recognition he so richly deserves. Congratulations!

    -- Posted by Ps139 on Sun, Nov 1, 2009, at 8:20 PM
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