Wireless Customers Are Everyday Heroes

Wireless Customers Are Everyday Heroes

Verizon Wireless Customers Recognized for Actions in Emergency Situations

May 20, 2002




In conjunction with Wireless Safety Week, six Verizon Wireless customers have been announced as winners of The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) annual VITA Wireless Samaritan Awards. The CTIA panel of judges awarded VITA, Latin for "Life", awards to six individuals who demonstrated the courage and instinct to think of their wireless phones as a life-saving device during demanding emergency situations.

"So many of us carry our wireless phones with us every day, everywhere we go and these six individuals serve as a reminder for us to also think of our wireless phones as a potential safety tool in our everyday lives," said Denny Strigl, president and chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless. "We are proud of our customers and employees and are pleased the wireless industry will honor them with the VITA Award."


From Atop the Mountain

Steven J. Cerqua of Glendale, Arizona

While Steve and Kathy Cerqua, and Kathy's mother, Sally Rosenwinkel, were returning from a day trip to the Salt River Canyon in northeastern Arizona they took a shortcut on a remote road where their vehicle got stuck in the mud. The Cerquas and Rosenwinkel made signal fires, drank water out of puddles and shared one box of breath mints for three days. Knowing their only chance for rescue was to call 911, Steve left the group to climb a nearby mountain peak to get a signal on his wireless phone. He succeeded and then used a mirror to signal the rescue helicopter pilot and they were saved.

Miracle of Modern Science

Michael Smith of Westminster, Colorado

On July 3, 2001, Michael Smith, a U.S. Veteran and a single parent, suffered a massive aneurysm in his aortic valve while driving near Boulder, Colorado. He was able to pull over to make the call that saved his life. After seven hours of surgery his doctor said it was a miracle that he survived.

Hang Ten Rescue

Lana Stuart of Hana, Hawaii

When Lana Stuart and her boyfriend, Lee, arrived at Hamoa beach they immediately noticed a strong rip tide that was roaring through the ocean. At the same time there were two surfers hauling their surfboards down to shore despite posted warning signs; the two entered the water. One surfer quickly returned to shore, but the other got caught in the rip tide and was carried out to sea. It wasn't long after that he could be seen waving his hands for help. Thanks to Lana and her brand new wireless phone, the surfer was rescued by helicopter.

Staying Connected in the Great Outdoors

George Wallace of Beverly Hills, Michigan

Just after 70-year-old Michigan customer George Wallace purchased his wireless phone at a nearby RadioShack, he took it with him when he was hunting in Oxford, MI. While in the woods he heard a man calling for help. The man, also hunting, had fallen from a 30-foot-tall tree; his back was broken in two places. Unable to walk, he'd been in the woods for 30 hours with no food or water. Thanks to the help summoned by Wallace's latest purchase, the man was pulled out safely and is recovering today.

Prevented Abduction

Jessica Graves of Toledo, Ohio

Jessica, a retail sales representative for Verizon Wireless, was driving through Toledo when she witnessed two men forcing a woman into her car. Jessica stopped directly in front of the car and began honking her horn while calling 911 on her Verizon Wireless phone. Though the suspects fled, the police apprehended and charged both with attempted abduction. The woman was shaken but unharmed. The two suspects were ultimately convicted for crimes.

Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Greg Geren of Cleveland, Tennessee

Greg Geren, a local baseball coach at Bradley Central High School, was using a Bobcat to help build new facilities at the school's baseball field. When he moved to get down, his right foot became pinned by the bucket of the machine. Greg tried to remove his foot, but knew he could not do it alone, so he reached into his back pocket and called one of the other coaches for help. Since the machine was equipped with a safety lock, someone had to climb in it and buckle the seat belt to release the lock and then move it to set him free.

Since 1993, the VITA Wireless Samaritan Awards have recognized the outstanding public service of individuals who use their wireless phones to save lives, stop crimes and quickly request help in emergencies. A select panel of individuals from law enforcement and emergency response services judged nominees from across the country. The wireless Samaritans will be recognized at a VITA Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on June 4th.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 30 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.

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