Saturday, September 29, 2001

Boy, 9, helps save a life

Pounding on the window saves man in coma

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The boy stood on the running board of the SUV, pounding and pounding on the window. But the man wouldn't wake up.

[photo] Cincinnati Police Officer Dean Chatman talks with Donsha Gentry, 9, on Broadway Street Wednesday. Donsha banged on the window of an SUV. attracting help for a man in diabetic shock.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
        Donsha Gentry, 9, didn't know what else to do. He didn't see any adults around. So he just kept pounding. For three hours Wednesday.

        His persistence — and finally some help from a grown-up — helped police officers and firefighters save a man suffering from severe diabetic shock.

        Donsha, from Over-the-Rhine, noticed the tan Ford Expedition sitting, engine running, at the dead end of Broadway Street. It was a little bit after he got out of school at nearby Washington Park Elementary. He “got worried,” he said, and started knocking.

        Several neighbors admitted they'd seen the boy knocking, but didn't think anything of it. It was about 7:30 p.m. when Brenda Tarbell, the wife of Councilman Jim Tarbell, who lives across the street, checked to see what was happening. She called 911.

        “I never would've known it if I hadn't seen this little guy out here,” she said.

        Officials wouldn't release the name of the man in the tan Ford Expedition with Warren County plates. But firefighters said he would be OK.

        Donsha's family was glad to hear the boy had done the right thing.

        “That's good that he did something nice,” said his aunt, Sharon Gentry. “He's a good child.”

        For his reward, Donsha — who says he wants to be a firefighter — got a handshake from Officer Lanie Fangman and a tour of the fire engine he helped call.

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