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DGS Employee Honored as “Everyday Hero”top

Photo: Walter Lopez

“Everyday Hero” Walter Lopez.

On the evening of June 29, 2012, a powerful, violent storm hit Montgomery County. The “derecho” -- a line of intense, widespread, and fast-moving windstorms and thunderstorms that moved across a great distance -- caused millions of dollars in damage and wreaked havoc across the region.

That evening, Walter Lopez, a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning mechanic with the Department of General Services was on duty. While traveling to the Bethesda Police Station via Old Georgetown Road he encountered a large tree and debris in the roadway and stopped to investigate.  The winds were strong and debris was flying as he approached the area through the driving rain.  He had no idea that underneath this massive tree and branches he would find a crushed vehicle. It wasn’t until he heard a faint call for help that he realized someone was actually inside the vehicle.

The roof of the vehicle was crushed, preventing the driver, who was bleeding profusely, from lifting her head.  Lopez quickly assessed the situation and was able to help her out the passenger side window. In an effort to slow the bleeding as much as possible, he took towels and clothing from his car to make a compress for the victim’s head.  Lopez, realizing that time was of the essence, then drove the victim to nearby Suburban Hospital, talking to her the whole time to prevent the woman from going into shock or panicking.

As a result of Lopez’ quick and courageous actions and for his compassion and willingness to help, the Bethesda resident received medical attention and has since recovered from her injuries.

“Heroism doesn’t come in the form of caped crusaders,” said DGS Director David Dise. “It comes from ordinary folks doing extraordinary things. Walter Gomez’ unselfish and immediate action is absolutely extraordinary. All of us in DGS are humbled by his actions and are proud to be his coworkers.”

Along with four other individuals who received awards, Lopez was presented with a Department of Fire and Rescue Services’ “Everyday Hero” award on October 22 by County Executive Ike Leggett, County Councilmember Phil Andrews and Fire Chief Steven Lohr.

“I am honored to recognize these good Samaritans for putting their own lives at risk in order to help those in need,” said Leggett.  “It is because of people like them that our County is such a great place in which to live.”



published by office of public information, sue tucker
Last edited: 11/22/2013