Natural Resources Employees Recognized for Saving Lives of Crash Victims
Four employees with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Boating Services unit were recognized last week for their lifesaving actions in two separate vehicle accidents. Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton and Boating Services Director Mark O’Malley presented certificates of appreciation from Governor Larry Hogan to Ozzie Wilkinson, Jim Wilson, Rob McVicker and Paul Carey for their quick thinking and bravery.
“I am continuously amazed at the skills and talent demonstrated by the employees in our department,” Secretary Belton said. “You four are a prime example of what makes our workforce special: different backgrounds, skill sets, and a genuine desire to help others, by going above and beyond the call of duty wherever and whenever needed. Thank you for your heroic actions.”
On the afternoon of Aug. 24, 2015, investigators from the Boat Tax Enforcement Unit, Jim Wilson of Allen, and Paul Carey of Salisbury, both retired Natural Resources Police Officers, along with Rob McVicker of Denton, a retired U.S. Coast Guard master chief, were traveling on Route 50 to conduct vessel surveys on the Eastern Shore. While driving through Mardela Springs, they saw a mangled, overturned vehicle and immediately pulled over to help. The three men worked to rescue the four entrapped and seriously injured passengers (three children and their father), cutting seatbelts and removing the victims through broken windows, and spraying leaking gasoline with a fire extinguisher.
Ozzie Wilkinson, from Hebron, who served for 11 years in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, works at the department as the engineer on the J.M. Tawes. On Sept. 24, 2015 while travelling to Crisfield, Wilkinson noticed oncoming vehicles veering into his lane. After pulling to the side of the road, he saw a minivan on its side and on fire. There was a man inside the vehicle who appeared dazed and in dire need of assistance, so Wilkinson immediately ran over to pry the door open, cut through the seatbelt and pull the driver out of the van, just as fire began burning through the dashboard. After walking the man to a stopped Maryland State Police vehicle, the blaze consumed the entire vehicle.
“I am extraordinarily proud of these men who risked their own personal safety to assist others,”O’Malley said. “Their actions bring great honor upon themselves and the department.”