Ohio 2024 Star of Life Award presented to police, firefighter/paramedics

Jonetta Ross was behind the wheel of a Stark Area Regional Transit Authority Proline bus in Jackson Township on the morning of September 25 when an SUV traveling in the opposite direction crossed the center line of Frank Avenue and struck the bus head-on.

The Canton woman was trapped, bleeding and suffered life-threatening injuries.

Jackson Township Police Officer Kyle Trsinar arrived first. He applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, giving firefighters time to carry out a complicated extrication.

Frank Avenue accident: Two drivers go to hospital after SARTA Proline bus crashes into an SUV on Monday

Paramedic Dawn Shaffer saw the trauma and stayed by the bus driver’s side during the rescue to help her cope with the mental trauma, according to a news release from the Jackson Township Fire Department.

Ross was taken to Aultman Hospital in Canton.

After surgery, the 48-year-old’s first request was to meet her “guardian angel” Shaffer, the paramedic who showed her care and compassion.

The teamwork of Jackson Township first responders was recognized Wednesday when they received the 2024 Star of Life Award from the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s EMS Division in Columbus. The award recognizes individuals and agencies for outstanding lifesaving efforts and exceptional patient care delivered during a telephone call.

“If you’ve ever taken a first aid/CPR course, you’ve heard of the ‘Chain of Survival,’” Jackson Fire Chief Tim Berczik said in a prepared statement. “From the initial 911 call to the responding police and fire units, to the transfer of medical care in the emergency room, trauma care, subsequent intensive care and hours of rehabilitation are all links that connect the ‘Chain of Survival’.”

He said Jackson firefighters/paramedics train continuously for all hazards.

“Their professionalism during the day-to-day operations of each shift often goes unnoticed,” said Berczik. “On this particular day, we couldn’t be prouder of the actions of all the police and fire personnel involved in this incident.

“Being recognized as the 2024 State EMS Star of Life Award Recipient is an honor, something few experience in their careers. More importantly, we are making a difference and saving lives within our community.”