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‘Just a guy doing a job’

Island County Sheriff’s Deputy Rob Davison didn’t think it was any big deal.

The deputy was the first emergency responder at a two-car accident on Highway 20 north of Oak Harbor March 22. He found a horrific scene with the driver of one of the cars clearly dead.

Gasoline covered the roadway and pooled around the crumpled vehicles. The deputy shooed a large crowd of onlookers away, knowing that a deadly and explosive fire could spark at any moment.

The driver and passenger of a van were injured and cried out for help. Davison went in through the windshield and carried the adult male passenger away to safety. He returned to help the driver, but the man was pinned behind the steering wheel. Instead of retreating to a safe distance, Davison stayed with the injured man and gave him medical assistance until aid arrived.

“It’s just my job,” Davison said about the incident. “You don’t think twice. If someone needs help, you help them.”

He was genuinely surprised earlier this month when his colleagues in the Fraternal Order of Police North Cascades Lodge 18 awarded him with the distinguished service medal during a banquet. The organization is for members of law enforcement in Skagit, Island and San Juan counties.

“Deputy Davison exhibited extraordinary courage and physical strength when he unselfishly risked his own self-being to render aid to strangers who were trapped in a highly volatile situation,” his certificate states.

Davison is no stranger to heroics. He was highly decorated during a 21-year career — 10 years active duty and 11 years in the reserves — as a helicopter rescue crewman for the Navy. As a search and rescue swimmer, he served in Desert Storm and spent two tours at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, which involved a lot of mountain and wilderness rescues.

In 2002, Gov. Gary Locke awarded him the Washington State Lifesaving Medal and the Island County Chapter of the American Red Cross presented him with the hero in law enforcement award.

In that incident, Davison saved a 1-year-old child.

As Davison explains it, he was driving to a nonsense call when he noticed two children sitting close to the edge of Timberline Road in Clinton. Something made him stop to investigate. He picked up a tiny girl, who went limp in his arms and stopped breathing. He removed what turned out to be a wad of skin cream mixed with grass and gravel from the child’s mouth and throat. He administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, bringing the child back to life.

It later turned out that the children’s babysitter had passed out inside the home, he explained.

While Davison will reluctantly admit that saving lives is a pretty big deal, he said he’s always surprised and humbled to get attention.

“I’m just a guy doing a job,” he said.

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