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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Smithfield women honored for saving child's life

By Tim Olsen

November 16, 2008 | SMITHFIELD -- What constitutes a hero? Well, much to their embarrassment, that's exactly what Chief of Police Johnny W. McCoy called three city residents when he presented them each with a Citizen Award at the City Council meeting Wednesday night.

Jolene Low, Delia Loosle and Jamie Poulsen were all credited with saving the life of a student, Riley Carpenter, at Sunrise Elementary.

Carpenter, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, stopped breathing while at the school. The three women, two of whom are aides, the other a life skills teacher, were able to resuscitate Carpenter while they waited for the paramedics to arrive.

"I'm just very thrilled that they were there and that they kicked in and knew what to do and they stepped up to the plate and did it, and did an excellent job," principal Kathy Toolson said. "I'm just really proud of all of them."

After receiving the award in front of many family and friends, the trio quickly left the meeting. Afterward they were all appreciative but insisted they didn't do anything special.

"We are trained, and that's what we're there to do is to help these little guys and our training just kicked in," Low said. "It's not heroic at all."

Poulsen made the 911 call as well as contacting Carpenter's parents.

"Our job is to keep them safe," she said.

The group said they first became alarmed when they noticed Carpenter's face begin to change color as she struggled for air. As they worked to get her breathing back to normal, it stopped altogether.

"She all of the sudden stopped breathing, just all the color drained from her face and she slumped forward in her chair," Loosle said. "At that point I took her out and started CPR."

McCoy said if it were not for the quick actions of the trio, Carpenter would not have made it.

"They responded so quickly and so effectively, literally they saved little Riley's life," he said. "That's an important quality of true heroes, they act without anticipation of any glory, any recognition. They saw what needed to be done and they just responded with that whole focus in mind that Riley needed their help, and I applaud them."

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