PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Heroic house fire rescues and tragic roadway recoveries. They are stories that we at CBS3 have covered but scenes where others played a far greater role.
On Friday evening, the 28th annual Valor and Scholarship Award Banquet hosted by the 200 Club of Burlington County was held at the Merion in Cinnaminson.
Awards are presented for many instances of diligent and long-term service but the capstone of the evening is in the Honor-Valor award which signifies service that has gone above and beyond the call of duty.
“To me it was just thinking of the people who were in the vehicle and trying to get them out of that vehicle,” said Patrolman Scott Ewan of the Edgewater Police Department.
Ewan, a four year veteran of the force, is one of the honorees who earned this top award.
On January 14th of this year, Ewan and fellow officers responded to an accident that resulted in a vehicle submerged in the waters of Olympia Lake in Willingboro.
“It wasn’t a choice. You hear the call and you are going to save somebody. It’s not an option at that point,” said Patrolman David Meenan, also of the Edgewater Township Police Department.
Both officers and others on-scene took immediate action and plunged into the icy water in an attempt to pull two occupants from the vehicle.
“We are extremely grateful,” said Meenan of the honor, “there’s a lot of mixed emotions with this knowing that we entered the water to save somebody. Knowing that you’ve exhausted all options and there’s nothing you can do to save someone, it’s a little uneasy for us.”
Robert and Janet Stephens of Burlington Township did not survive the crash but the memory of that day has not left the minds of the officers who risked their own lives in an attempt to save the couple.
“We responded there and did what anyone would do,” said Ewan.
In addition to the awards, the 200 Club presented $10,000 in scholarships to four select first responders to help offset the cost of college.