Assateague Rangers Earn Valor Awards

ASSATEAGUE- Two Assateague State Park Rangers last week were awarded Valor Awards for their heroic actions in potentially saving the life of a camper in the state park last October.

Around 9:20 p.m. on October 26, Assateague State Park Rangers Adam Stachowiak and Meghan Sochowski responded to a call for a camper in distress. The rangers quickly arrived at the campsite from which the call originated and found an unresponsive female patient lying face down in the upper bed of a small camper.

The victim’s boyfriend told the rangers she was diabetic and that she had last eaten around 6:30 p.m., or three hours earlier, but he was not certain when, or even if, she had taken her last insulin shot. Stachowiak and Sochowski called 911 to get an ambulance in route, but soon learned they would have to act on their own to begin treating the unresponsive woman. According to a letter from Assateague State Park Manager Angela Baldwin requesting honors be bestowed on the two park rangers, there was a problem initially with the response time for the ambulance.

“Listening to the Worcester County dispatch on the radio, they heard that the Berlin ambulance call was not being answered after repeated attempts, and eventually, a unit from Ocean City had to be called to respond,” the letter reads. “This delayed the response time several minutes.”

Stachowiak acted quickly and inserted insta-glucose into the victim’s cheek, after which she became alert although slightly combative. The two rangers then administered oxygen and placed the victim in recovery position while continuing to try to keep her alert and monitoring her closely.

When paramedics arrived, they tested the victim’s sugar level and found it to be very low. The paramedics later commented if the rangers had not given the victim glucose, her outcome would have resulted in her going into a diabetic coma, which could have resulted in her death. In addition, a Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) officer on the scene said the two rangers did an excellent job in a very tense and frightening situation and maintained control while acting professionally and responsibly.

“Both Ranger Stachowiak and Ranger Sochowski deserve praise for their life-saving actions,” Baldwin said in the letter. “Their quick thinking and good decision making resulted in an overnight stay in the hospital and a release the next day for the victim in a situation that could have been much worse.”

The Maryland Park Service agreed with her assessment and last week presented the two rangers with rare Valor Awards.