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Local kids become heroes
When North Bend mother Sharon Lane waited with her 6-year-old son Joseph for the 11:45 a.m. kindergarten school bus on April 18, she expected the day to be like any other.
Also waiting at the bus stop was their neighbor Iriyida Gonzalas, who was with her 5-year-old nephew Osmar. Iriyida declined to be interviewed for this article, but Lane said that while they were waiting for the bus to arrive, the recent immigrant in her late 20s from Guatemala suddenly went into an epileptic seizure.
"I knew right away she needed an ambulance and what I did was I said, 'Joey, run home as fast as you can and get the phone, I need to call 911,'" Lane said.
Joseph ran from the bus stop to his home three houses away, climbed on a stool to reach the cordless phone, removed it from the receiver, tried to dial 911 himself and ran back to his mother with the phone.
She also told Osmar to run home for help, too. At home he found his other aunt, who gave him Iriyida's medicine to bring back to Lane.
Emergency crews arrived soon after and Iriyida was taken to the hospital where she received the necessary assistance.
"It was a 13-minute response time, but it seemed like an hour," Lane said.
For Joseph, that day may forever be in his memory.
Osmar said he was just glad that his aunt was OK.
"Afterwards, I said, 'were you scared," Lane said. "He said, 'I was so scared Mommy, but I got the phone.' At their young age, that they ran home, that they knew what to do, it's amazing."
Joseph and Osmar were still able to catch the school bus, though. When they told their friends at school about it, Joseph said that many of them said, "Wow."
Later that day, Lane made sure to follow up with the children to see how they were handling the experience.
They were shaken up, but handling the situation well, Lane noted.
She said she is proud that Joseph and Osmar knew what to do and were both able to function under pressure.
"Basically, they could have just started panicking and crying, but they were so good," Lane said.
A former lifeguard and a volunteer with various athletic, fire-aid and safety organizations, Lane has taught her children about safety since they were born, she said.
Lane's family is not new to impromptu heroics.
Earlier that month Lane's older son, Stephen Eytel, 15, was also able to put his safety-response skills to use after getting off the school bus near his home on April 4. Across the street, he saw that his elderly neighbor Marilyn Guse had fallen in her driveway.
"I had to think through all the things I had learned," said the Boy Scout who had already earned his first-aid badge.
Stephen notified Marilyn's husband Darrell and then stayed with her until an ambulance arrived.
"I went out there and kept her calm," he said.
It was later discovered that the woman had broken her hip. She has since recovered and even began driving again on May 18.
"It was a good thing he was there because I was in the house and couldn't hear," Darrell said. "He did a good turn."
Lane said the Boy Scouts are looking into presenting Stephen with a badge to honor his efforts.
"It was very nice and courageous," said Snoqualmie Valley School District No. 410 Transportation Supervisor Jim Garhart, who did not witness the event but heard about it from Lane.
However, the driver of the school bus who was a witness is no longer with the school district and did not report the incident at the time. Because the act was not officially reported, there is not much the school district can do to honor Stephen, Garhart explained.
"Any act of heroism is commended and some even go before the school board," Garhart noted about the district's general take on acts such as Stephen's.
Lane said she was glad to see that her children were able to put to use the important skills they have learned.
"I was so proud of those two," She said.
Lane has two other children; Lisa Eytel, 13, and Christina Eytel, 18, who works as a lifeguard. Lane's husband George is a lieutenant commander in the Navy.