American Red Cross to Honor Shoreline & North Bend Heroes

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ainsley Hewson meets Eric Zender
Photo courtesy Shoreline Fire
The American Red Cross Serving King and Kitsap Counties will honor Eric Zender, a resident of Shoreline and a fireman for the Shoreline Fire Department, and Jason Mark of North Bend at its 16th Annual Heroes Breakfast on Tuesday, March 27, from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. 

Zender and Mark, two of a dozen heroes to be recognized, will receive the Nature Rescue Award, which is sponsored by Costco Wholesale.

Jason Mark and Eric Zender’s Story

It was a Mark family tradition to spend the Fourth of July at Denny Creek enjoying the hiking trails and water slides. Last year was no exception. There were a lot of families enjoying the sunshine; however, the water was running high and fast because of melting snow.

Jason Mark noticed one family in particular. Darryn Hewson was walking with his two daughters, one strapped to his chest while the other, four-year-old Ainsley Hewson, walked by his side holding his hand. Not long afterwards, Mark heard the sound of a screaming man. As Mark looked up he saw, Darryn Hewson, but one of the little girls was missing. 
Ainsley Hewson had fallen into the creek and had been swept away in the whitewater.

Mark’s wife called 9-1-1 while he and others frantically searched for the little girl. The water was very cold and the current strong. After about 10 minutes, several people began to give up and get out of the water. “I knew I couldn’t give up. Not with my family watching,” recalled Mark. “I got down on my knees and prayed. It was like I just knew where she was.” He then raced to a pile of fallen trees, worked his way into the water one last time and reached between a rock and the tree for what he hoped would be Ainsley Hewson. He found her.

As he pulled the little girl from the water, Mark called for help. Eric Zender jumped into action as soon as Mark handed Ainsley Hewson’s lifeless body to him. Zender began CPR. After 20 grueling minutes of chest compressions, he noticed a heartbeat. After two more minutes of rescue breaths, she began to breathe again.

Ainsley toured Shoreline Fire station
and tried on Eric Zender's helmet

Ainsley Hewson was transported to Harborview and then Seattle Children’s Hospital. The doctors anticipated weeks of recovery, but she was released one week later fully recovered.

“A lot of people didn’t respond that day, said Darryn Hewson. “They [Mark and Zender] are the example of what all of us should be. They are a gift to my family. Their presence is what saved my little girl.”

About the Heroes Breakfast
The annual breakfast raises critical funds that help support local Red Cross programs and services. Puget Sound Energy and Costco are this year’s major sponsors. Guests must RSVP ahead of time to 206.709.4536.

The American Red Cross is a non-profit, humanitarian agency dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world.


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