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Off-duty officers, paramedic honored for saving local woman’s life

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 12:01 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2020 at 11:11 AM CDT
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LACY LAKEVIEW, Texas (KWTX) - After a Lacy Lakeview woman’s life is saved just in time for her first granddaughter’s birth, the three off-duty first responders who rescued her from a burning vehicle have been honored by the city.

“The men did what officers do every day throughout the United States," said Lacy Lakeview Police Chief John Truehitt. "To be honest, they don’t want the recognition, these three men, but they deserve it.”

Truehitt says they went ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty, and although they don’t want it, he decided to give the trio of heroes commendations for saving the life of Season Valdez, 41.

Last week, the city presented Waco PD officer Adam Beseda, Lacy Lakeview PD Lt. David Cummings, and AMR’s Richard Lednicky, who is also a city councilman in Lacy Lakeview, with life-saving awards.

“This really prevented what could have been a very tragic incident," said Waco PD’s Interim Chief of Police, Frank Gentsch.

Gentsch was in the small crowd who gathered for a socially-distanced award ceremony outside LLPD where Beseda, Cummings and Lednicky were given plaques and medals.

“I’m glad that I get to live a little longer and see my first granddaughter be born," Valdez told KWTX after the ceremony. "I just want to thank them, again.”

At around 6:20 p.m. on Sept. 23, Valdez was involved in a crash with another vehicle at the busy intersection of Loop 340 and New Dallas Hwy in Lacy Lakeview.

“When I was in the wreck, I was wondering if anybody was going to save me," said Valdez.

She went unconscious and her car caught fire.

“I normally take a different route, but today was the day that I was supposed to go that way," said Beseda, who believes he was in the right place at the right time. “I was on the phone with someone, I saw no lights, something just triggered in me."

Beseda was leaving work and was off-duty when he happened upon the crash along with Cummings and Lednicky.

“Whether we’re on or off-duty, we’re always on-duty," said Beseda.

After they cut her seatbelt to get her out of her burning vehicle, body camera footage from a LLPD officer who was called to respond to the crash captured the later part of the rescue.

“When you watch that video you think, ‘what if that was my wife, what if that was my loved one?’" said Truehitt. "You get emotional about it.”

Although saving lives is their job, Truehitt says it’s also in their DNA.

“They’re going to make mistakes of the mind, we all do, every day, but the mistake of the heart...when they see someone in trouble, they run to them," said Truehitt about the heart of a first responder.

Beseda credits the successful rescue to a combination of training and experience, but heart above all.

Although he doesn’t think he’s a hero, when he came home the night of the crash, even to his young children it was clear he was one.

“The second I walk in the door they yell ‘Daddy’s a hero!’" Beseda said with tears in his eyes. “Human emotion grabs you at that moment, knowing that this is why we are here, this is why we wear the badge, this is why we come to work every day: to protect life,”

Valdez suffered serious injuries which she’s still recovering from, however, she says she’s just grateful for a second chance at life.

“I’m getting better day by day,” she said. “I’m strong, I have to be because I got another chance”

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