Four of Big Bear’s finest were presented with the Sheriff’s Lifesaving Award at a recent ceremony. Sheriff John McMahon honored Deputies Nick Piunno, Samuel Fuller, Zakkary Planz and Destiny Derryberry.
On March 30, 2019, Derryberry responded to a call for medical aid in Big Bear Lake. The call involved a man not breathing. Derryberry arrived to find a 72-year-old man unresponsive and without a pulse. His family had stopped CPR because they felt he was beyond saving.
Derryberry began chest compressions for four minutes until Big Bear Fire Department arrived and took over. The man regained a weak pulse before being transported to the hospital. Derryberry was contacted by fire department personnel to thank her and let her know the man was breathing on his own and had a normal pulse. Her quick response saved the man’s life.
Deputies Fuller and Planz stepped into action responding to a medical aid call May 31, 2019, in Big Bear Lake. A man watching television in bed with his wife stopped breathing. The deputies found the man on the floor between the bed and the wall, without a pulse.
Without hesitation, the deputies began life saving measures performing CPR until paramedics arrived a few minutes later. The man was transported to the hospital for further care and began breathing on his own. If not for their quick thinking and teamwork, he would not have survived.
On Aug. 12, 2019, the man contacted the Big Bear Station to thank Fuller and Planz for saving his life.
Piunno was working at the Big Bear jail Aug. 23, 2019, when he saw an inmate in a cell hanging with a blanket wrapped around his neck. The inmate’s feet were on the mattress with the rest of his body face down suspended in air. Piunno entered the cell and saw that the inmate’s head and face were blue, and he did not appear to be breathing.
Deputy Piunno untied the blanket, laid the inmate down and began CPR until the man began to breathe on his own and had a pulse. Piunno continued to monitor the inmate’s vital signs until Big Bear Fire personnel arrived.
The man was transferred to the hospital and made a full recovery thanks to the quick response, actions and persistence of Piunno.
The four Big Bear deputies were among 32 sworn personnel and three civilians honored Jan. 16.