Mayor John Suthers recognized six members of the community today in a special ceremony honoring the agencies and individuals who acted valiantly during the tragic shooting incident at the Planned Parenthood clinic, November 27, 2015.
Mayor Suthers presented a Spirit of the Springs Award to each of the following recipients in recognition of their efforts to help fellow community members during a time of need.
Dr. Derek Hurst- is a Colorado Springs family physician practicing at the Centennial Family Practice office who was working at Mountain View Medical in the building beside Planned Parenthood on that Friday morning when a woman with a gunshot wound walked into the lobby looking for help. Dr. Hurst and his team of medical professionals jumped into action, giving needed medical assistance and keeping their patients calm and safe in the midst of the tragic events, ultimately saving lives.
Michael Hagiwara –is the Charge Nurse in Penrose’s Emergency Department. He was in the optician’s office when the shooting began. Without hesitation, he jumped in to assist Dr. Hurst and his team, caring for patients as they were brought in. He even assisted a police officer in moving a patient inside and to safety during the shooting.
Kelly Hayes- works at the Colorado Hand Center and was at her desk when she heard gunfire. Shortly after, someone brought in a civilian who had been shot. She immediately took over, calming the patient and getting her to the doctor and nurses to care for her. She did the same for another individual injured in the shooting.
Cathy Stark – was working as the Assistant Store Manager at King Soopers, when police asked all citizens and shoppers to shelter in place while the scene unfolded just outside their doors. While managing the crowd of frightened shoppers, Cathy closed and locked their doors, and worked with her team to ensure the safety of hundreds of men, women and children. As the hours wore on, Cathy and her team looked for ways to keep the customers safe, comfortable and happy, even providing coloring books and crayons to the children. Police recognized the actions of the King Soopers team as vital in protecting a large number of citizens during the tragedy.
Bridget Holisky & Carmella Vega – both work at the Centennial office of Mountain View Medical Group. These two women jumped into action when a victim came in saying that she’d been shot. Carmella ran to get Dr. Hurst and assist the patient. Bridget quickly gathered supplies and secured the building. Several times Dr. Hurst and Carmella needed additional supplies, and these two women came up with improvised solutions as the office was not equipped for gunshot victims.
Bridget and Carmella also took charge of moving patients multiple times to keep them out of harm’s way. And more, Carmella and Bridget helped an elderly couple who had been stranded in their vehicle and were later brought in by police officers. These two women were instrumental in ensuring the safety of patients and victims until the armored vehicle was able to transport all to safety.
“Our great city responded with resilience and compassion to the tragic events of November 27,” said Mayor John Suthers. “While these acts don’t lessen the losses we experienced, they do stand to define the spirit of Colorado Springs, and it is my honor to join in recognizing the individuals – both civilians and those in uniform - who put others before themselves, and acted to help their fellow citizens that day.”
During the ceremony, held at City Hall today, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman also honored Colorado Springs law enforcement and first responders. Coffman recognized the agencies that responded bravely to the call of duty: the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Police Department, the Colorado Springs Police Department, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department and the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
“Each of these men and women responded heroically to an emergency call, not only because it was part of their job, but because of their inherent sense of duty. These individuals represent the best of the best,” said Attorney General Coffman. “They did what our first responders do each and every day in Colorado. They risked their lives to protect Coloradans and prevent more casualties.”