In Jan. 13 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
Bertrand Capelle, the France native who saved a local girl's life last summer, was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel on Monday morning during Treviicos-Soletanche JV's weekly safety department meeting at Wolf Creek Dam.
A Kentucky Colonel is the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions for Kentucky Colonels are given by the governor and the secretary of state to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation
"Those of us in the safety department felt it worthy of such honor in the way Bertrand helped to save a young girl's life by performing CPR on her back in July," said Alan Morgan, the dam site environmental, health and safety manager.
"I had no idea about this," said Capelle, who rejoined the TSJV several months back after returning from France. "It was a very big surprise."
Morgan said he and several others, including John Flanagan, Sam Tarter and Josh Tarter, had gone through political connections within the Lt. Governor's office to have this honor from Gov. Steve Beshear drawn up on Capelle's behalf.
Capelle received a letter accompanying the Kentucky Colonel commission from Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo explaining this award process and thanking him for his actions in July.
"We in the TSJV Safety Department also want to officially thank Bertrand for being a lifesaver in a time of need and let him know that he is a valuable asset to this project and to the community as well," Morgan said.
The letter from Mongiardo read "a commission of a Kentucky Colonel carries with it a responsibility to be Kentucky's ambassador of good will and fellowship around the world. You are a source of great pride for your leaders, friends and family. On behalf of all Kentuckians, best wishes for continued success in future endeavors."
"It gives me great honor to present Bertrand with this because I earned one many years ago as a firefighter," Morgan said.
Capelle, who was heading to the grocery to buy bread that Sunday morning in July, just happened to see the event unfold on U.S. 127, slowed down and then stopped to help.
Capelle, who is originally from a small town 50 miles from Paris, France, has lived in Jamestown for several months helping with the rehabilitation work on Wolf Creek Dam. His wife, daughter, and son have been with him also.
For several heart-wrenching moments, Capelle and Allison Best of Jamestown performed CPR together on her youngest daughter Mia, a first aid maneuver he first learned after graduating college in France nearly 20 years ago. Working in the engineering field on big projects where accidents can and do happen, learning CPR was a must.
Minutes later, Russell County EMS arrived, loaded Mia, who was having an allergic reaction to lip balm, up in the ambulance and took her to the local hospital.
She was later flown to the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. After several miraculous day of recovery, Mia was able to return home. She is currently a kindergartener at Jamestown Elementary.
The Best family also presented Capelle a plaque for his heroic efforts at a get together at Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church just days after the event unfolded.
"We need more people to learn CPR," Capelle said this summer. Treviicos-Soletanche JV demands that all their workers know the maneuver.
Capelle went for days not knowing whether Mia made it, but now has an eternal bond with her following that heroic even on Sunday, July 25, 2010.
"I want to see her again in 20 years when she is a young woman," Capelle said this summer.