VSEA congratulates DOL employee Jeremie Dufresne’s heroic actions!
Know someone at your workplace who has a good story to tell, or who deserves some special recognition? Contact VSEA Communications Coordinator Doug Gibson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helping Prevent A Serious Crisis Is Becoming Second Nature For One VSEA Member!
Anyone facing a life-threatening situation should hope that VSEA member Jeremie Dufresne is close by. That’s because in just the past four months, Dufresne has been involved in preventing two possible serious incidents from occurring.
Truck Over Embankment
On October 21, 2010, Dufresne, a custodian at the Dept. of Labor, was volunteering some of his free time to help his mother-in-law deliver newspapers in the area around Berlin Pond. Driving a route he had done many times before, Dufresne was riding along when out of the corner of his eye he noticed a truck off the road, down an embankment and in a brook that feeds Berlin Pond.
Acting quickly, Dufresne stopped, got out of his car and immediately called 911 for assistance.
“They asked me if anyone was in the truck, and I said I didn’t know because I couldn’t see due to the way the truck had landed, with its bottom angled up towards me,” explained Dufresne. “And there were trees blocking my view into the cab.”
Satisfied emergency help was on its way, Dufresne hung up and tossed off his shoes and socks, rolled up his pants and descended down the embankment towards the truck yelling “hello, hello.” There was no immediate response.
“I got right up to the cab and that’s when I saw the driver inside holding a front-seat passenger’s head up with her hand and attempting at the same time to stretch her other arm into the back seat to hold up that passenger’s head as well,” said Dufresne, who added that the two passengers were mentally disabled. “All three were all freaking out a little bit, so I did my best to calm them down, but the truck was taking on a little water, so it was a concern, but I finally did manage to get them to calm down a little.”
Standing barefoot in three-feet of chilly brook water, Dufresne stayed with the truck and its occupants until emergency personnel arrived on the scene. He then helped get the individuals up to an ambulance so they could be checked out.
“The water temperature was the last thing on my mind,” laughed Dufresne. “I didn’t even feel it.”
Dufresne said he didn’t hang around long enough to find out who the people were in the truck, but he knew just from the look in the driver’s eyes as he was helping them that she was thankful for all he had done.
“That was good enough for me,” he said.
Just two months after pulling three individuals from a wrecked truck, Dufresne was leaving his home in Barre for work at the DOL on January 21 when he drove by a garage and noticed smoke coming from it.
“It was a ten-car garage for an apartment complex, and there were flames shooting out of it and up towards windows above,” explained Dufresne. “It was 5:30 in the morning so there wasn’t anyone around, and I didn’t hear any fire trucks coming. I called 911 and started walking towards the apartment building to alert people when something blew up. I didn’t know if it was a gas tank, a tire, whatever. The 911 person advised me to stay away from the building, but there were people still in the apartment building, and I was going to get them out.”
Right as he was hanging up with 911, Dufresne said a Barre City police officer showed up and began helping him go to each apartment door and begin banging on them to wake up the occupants and get them out. They were successful and all the apartment’s occupants escaped unharmed.
“The fire department arrived soon after and they were able to contain the fire just to the garage,” reported Dufresne. “The garage and cars were a loss, but the apartment building was okay.” Dufresne added that having a father who was a 17-year Williamstown firefighter helped him know how to respond to the situation he encountered.
“It’s in my blood,” he laughed.
Does Jeremie Dufresne consider himself a hero?
“I don’t think I’m a hero really,” he humbly says. “I was just at the right place at the right time.”
Ed Note: Nice work Jeremie!