Two Belfield men awarded for saving a mother and her baby

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The courageous act of two men is what earned them the first-ever Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award.

It was just another day for Tom Tessier and Jack Schaff.

They were on their way to Belfield to go fishing with some buddies at Lake Sakakawea when all of a sudden they witnessed a car flip over.

“We pulled down, we slowed down right away and pulled over. Started walking over there or trying to run. We’re both a little old. And the lady had actually gotten out of the car already, and kind of walking back and forth in front of the car, alongside the car. And so we asked her if there was someone else in there and she said her baby was in there,” explained Schaff.

“When she said, ‘my baby’, I got down underneath and seen this baby hanging upside down, and it was kind of a no brainer after that,” explained Tessier.

It was their quick thinking and heroic actions that got them nominated for the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award and eventually selected as the winners by the six mayors in the county.

“Well we had 24 nominations this particular time and it was a tough time for these mayors to narrow it down. We had some really, really good nominations, and it was a tough process, but they muddle through it and got it down,” explained Stark County Sheriff Corey Lee.

The gentlemen were honored with a ceremony, donated gift baskets, cards, and their own trophies for what Sheriff Corey Lee says, you don’t see someone do every day.

“I’m surprised really. I figured anybody would pull over and stop and help,” said Schaff.

“I think of law enforcement and fire departments with the jaws of life, ambulance crews, paramedics. They do this on a regular basis, so those are the people we should be looking up to,” said Tessier.

The other 23 nominations will be automatically eligible for the award in April.

The county-wide award is solely for Stark County residents and is given on a bi-monthly basis.

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