Salutes & Awards

July 12, 2013

Luke member rescues girl, earns award

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Senior Airman DAVID OWSIANKA
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott and Joseph Sana, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron 911 dispatcher, pose for a photo June 25 at a ceremony where he received a lifesaving award for actions he took April 19 to save a young girl from a dog attack. The ceremony took place at Surprise City Hall.

Joseph Sana, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron 911 dispatcher, rescued a 12-year-old girl from a dog attack April 19. For his heroism, the Luke Air Force Base civilian employee received a Lifesaving Award June 25 at the Surprise City Hall.

Sana was at his home when he heard a call for help.

“I was in my kitchen near the front window when I saw her brother riding by. He threw his bike down and started running toward a place I couldn’t see,” Sana said. “Then I heard them yelling for help.”

Sana ran from his home toward Ashley Jensen’s cries for help as an 85-pound dog sank its teeth into one of Ashley’s thighs. He immediately began trying to pull the dog off. After seeing the dogs’ teeth separating the skin and muscle from the leg, he jumped on the dog, grabbed its collar and pinned its head to the ground.

“Fortunately, the dog had a loose collar, which helped me get a hold on him,” Sana said. “After being unable to pull the dog off of her, I began choking the dog and putting all of my weight on him until he let go.”

Sana continued to hold the dog down while paramedics treated Ashley because every time the dog would hear her cry, it would growl and attempt to get up.

“Thoughts of whether or not I would be able to continue to hold onto the dog ran through my mind as I waited for animal control to arrive,” Sana said. “I told the children to go somewhere safe in case I was unable to keep control of the dog.”

Despite being exhausted when animal control arrived, Sana ensured the officer had complete control before releasing the dog.

The paramedics took Ashley to the hospital where she received numerous stitches both internally and externally on her thigh and a couple of stitches on her ankle during a two-hour surgery.

Ashley continues to move forward as time passes by.

“She is doing better and her leg is healing nicely,” said Kathy Jensen, Ashley’s mother. “She still experiences fear when she hears a dog bark, hesitates to walk down the street and doesn’t like to go outside too much now.”

Both parents continue to express gratitude to Sana.

“It’s hard to put into words,” said Michael Jensen, Ashley’s father. “We thank God for what Sana did. He has helped more than he knows.”




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