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VIDEO: County honors three good Samaritans

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Three men received Lifesaver Awards during the County Commission mid-month meeting on July 21.

Brian Patterson and county employee Leaga Sua are credited for saving the lives of Christina Tschantz and her daughter, Alexa, after the two were in a fiery crash with a dump truck July 8 on Leroy Coffer Highway. 

Patterson and Sua pulled Tschantz and her daughter from the burning car. Tschantz was treated for injuries and soon released, but her daughter sustained burns to 65 percent of her body and is still recovering at the Augusta Burn Center.

Patterson’s son Ethan also received an award for staying with the women and providing care until EMS arrived.

Liberty County Fire Services Chief Brian Darby and EMS Director Crystal Hensler made the presentation before the Board of County Commissioners. Darby explained how the fire started upon impact when Tschantz’s car hit the diesel tank of the dump truck.

“Luckily we had some good Samaritans that decided to stop,” Darby said. “Without these good Samaritans, there would have been two fatalities.

“With complete disregard for their safety and putting another human being before themselves is the reason why mom was released from the hospital, and her daughter still has a long road in front of her, but she is still here with us.”

Hensler said they teach their paramedics to always be kind, to offer a smile and hold a patient’s hand, “and you three gentlemen surpassed all that.”

“I commend you, and I thank you,” she said.

“We are no stronger than the citizens that we have in our community,” said Board Chair Donald Lovette. “We really appreciate this act of heroism. When people move without even thinking about themselves, it’s unselfish, and it makes such a big difference.”

Sua said he saw the collision and never thought twice about helping out. Like Brian Patterson, Sua is also a veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He said it was nice to get an award, but saving a life meant more.

“You can replace a car, but you can’t replace a life,” he said.

Ethan Patterson was the one who made the 911 call and stayed with the burn victims to keep them alert and awake until EMS arrived. He said he was running on pure adrenaline.

Ethan said the mother is doing better and that Alexa has made some progress. His dad said it was unique to receive an award from the county but, like Sua, it was his military training that kicked in, enabling him to do what he did.

“It was second nature to run towards the danger instead of away from it,” he said. “I’m glad the good Lord had us at the right place and the right time that day.”

Together We Rise, a local non-profit founded by burn victim Kat Arnsdorff, supports burn victims and their families during the hospitalization, recovery and healing process. The organization is sponsoring the family and is requesting donations to meet the family’s needs.

The Coastal Courier will be a drop-off site for these donations. The office, at 125 South Main St., Suite B, in Hinesville, is open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m.–noon.

For monetary support, a family friend has set up a GoFundMe account. To donate, visit https://gofund. me/310ee12e. After the award presentation, the commissioners resumed regular business, approving an agreement and adopting a resolution for the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) election to be announced for November. They approved a proposal for a new county fire truck and renewed the lease for Liberty Independent Troop Park. They also approved a memorandum of understanding with the city of Hinesville for the use of a county pool operator to operate the splash pad at the newly renovated Bradwell Park.