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Caption: Protective Services recently presented six people with Life Saving Awards for heroic actions this past year. Attending the Oct. 11 awards ceremony were (l-r): Dean Caruso, vice president, Support Services and Sustainability; awardees Daniel Figuenick, James Dempsey, Frank Montagna, Richard Wolfer and Thomas White; and Nick Proto, director, Protective Services. Missing from photo: Bishme Sheppard, Propark employee. 

Protective Services honors six for life-saving actions

At an Oct. 11 ceremony, Yale New Haven Hospital’s Protective Services department honored six people for using their training, empathy and communication skills to save lives.

Protective Services officers Dan Figuenick, Frank Montagna, Lt. James Dempsey, Thomas White and Richard Wolfer, along with Propark employee Bishme Sheppard received Life Saving Awards for “jumping into action and going above and beyond,” said Nick Proto, Protective Services director. 

He and Dean Caruso, vice president, Support Services and Sustainability, presented trophies to the awardees and shared their stories:

On April 26, officers Figuenick and Tony Guess responded to a unit with a particularly challenging patient. The patient had hidden a serrated knife from his dinner and was about to stab Guess. Figuenick quickly deflected the attack, preventing a serious injury. The two officers were then able to remove the knife from the patient's hand. 

On June 6, officers Montagna – who had just joined Protective Services two days before – and Richard Barry were posted at the Saint Raphael Campus Emergency Department parking lot because they had heard about a possible gunshot victim arriving. When a car sped into the lot and stopped, the officers saw a woman slumped in the front passenger seat and a man getting out of the back. Montagna saw a handgun in the man’s waistband, under his shirt. The man turned to the two officers and put his hand on the gun, prompting Montagna to shout “gun!” and immediately disarm the man.

At around 1 am June 20, Sheppard, a Propark employee, saw a woman standing near the edge of an upper level of the George Street Garage. He began talking to the woman, who told him to toss his phone or she would jump. Sheppard continued talking with her for four hours to prevent her from jumping. At around 5 am, employee Raymond Amendola saw what was going on and alerted Protective Services. Officers responded, including Dempsey, who immediately established a rapport with the woman and talked to her until the New Haven Police and Fire departments arrived. Collectively, the team persuaded the woman to move away from the edge of the garage and she was taken to the SRC ED.

While patrolling the Air Rights Garage July 6, White heard two parents trying to stop their child, who was running and threatening to jump off the garage. White stopped the child from reaching the edge. Wolfer responded to the scene and helped keep the child safe until the police and fire departments and an ambulance crew could safely transport the child to the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital ED.

During the awards ceremony, Proto praised all YNHH Protective Services officers, who responded to 150,000 calls for assistance and had 30,000 interactions with patients this past year. 

He closed the ceremony by reading a proclamation from Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont in honor of national Healthcare Security and Safety Week, Oct. 9 - 15. Proto thanked the people who ensure the safety of “all who work, visit and receive treatment in our healthcare facilities.”