Honors for 2 Island Lake cops ‘long overdue’ chief says

A pair of Island Lake police officers will be recognized Thursday night for unrelated heroic actions.

Detective Scott Johnson will receive a valor award for stopping a woman from lighting herself on fire earlier this year.

Officer Gale Holford will be honored for resuscitating a teenage boy who apparently overdosed on drugs last year.

Both awards were supposed to be given out earlier by the previous administration, Chief Don Bero said, but ceremonies weren’t held.

“(They’re) long overdue,” Bero said.

Johnson jumped into action on Feb. 28 when he responded to a domestic disturbance in an unincorporated area outside the village limits ahead of Lake County sheriff’s deputies.

According to the certificate he will receive, Johnson discovered a woman who had poured gasoline over herself and was trying to start a fire with a cigarette lighter.

Johnson stepped into the puddle of gasoline, took the lighter from the woman and talked to her calmly until more police and Wauconda firefighters arrived.

“Detective Johnson went above and beyond the call of duty, demonstrating personal bravery in putting himself in harm’s way to save a life,” the award reads.

Holford is being honored for saving a teen’s life on May 25, 2012.

Called to help an ambulance crew at a house in Island Lake, Holford got to the scene first and found a teenager who had overdosed. The boy was unconscious, not breathing and not responsive, so Holford began chest compressions, according to the award.

The boy began breathing on his own but stopped again, prompting Holford to resume compressions until firefighters arrived.

The boy survived, Bero said. Firefighters credited Holford’s actions for preventing his death or brain damage, Bero said.

The officers will receive the awards during Thursday’s village board meeting, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. at village hall, 3720 Greenleaf Ave.

Trustee Mark Beeson said he was looking forward to meeting Johnson and Holford and shaking their hands.

“I’m very excited that we have such qualified officers on the force that we can honor in this fashion,” Beeson said.

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