Thursday, September 14, 2000

Police officer honored as a hero

Award is department's 2nd-highest

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Unassuming and chagrined, Officer Lanny Ash stood before his fellow officers, family and reporters Wednesday to accept the police department's second-highest honor for saving a woman's life last month.

        “When I was coming to work today, I said, "Uh-oh, here it comes,'” Officer Ash said about the recognition.

[photo] Hugs from his mother, Helen Stinger, and daughter Desiree, 6, follow a Meritorious Service Award ceremony for Lanny Ash on Wednesday.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
        In addition to receiving the Meritorious Service Award from Police Chief Neil Ferdelman, Officer Ash was recognized with a proclamation at Wednesday's City Council meeting. It was the first time the department has given the Meritorious Service Award.

        “I think he's somewhat embarrassed by this whole process. He's not used to being a hero, but he certainly is,” the chief said.

        At 2:15 a.m. Aug. 23 Officer Ash arrived to assist a fellow officer with a 23-year-old woman threatening to jump off the Witt Way Overpass onto High Street near downtown.

        The 140-pound woman was distraught and would not let the other officer approach her. As Officer Ash positioned himself about 15 feet below, she jumped head-first.

        He extended his arms and broke the woman's fall before she hit the concrete. She broke her elbow; Officer Ash, who has since recovered, strained two biceps.

        “I think Lanny did a selfless act of bravery,” Chief Ferdelman said. “He acted without regard for his own personal safety; and without regard for that safety, he went ahead and saved this woman's life. I'm not sure that the average citizen, or even the average officer, has the kind of presence of mind that Lanny has.”

        Kenya Lowe, Officer Ash's fiancee, said his safety is a constant concern.

        “Every day, when he gets off work and he walks through the door, it's a sigh of relief seeing that he's home safely,” she said.

        Officer Ash said he appreciates the cards and phone calls he's received from citizens thanking him for putting his life on the line.


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