Rockford Police Officer Derek Haan

First responders honored for resuscitating lifeless baby

December 22, 2011 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA On a beautiful day in June, a Rockford family’s worst nightmare struck. Twenty-three-year-old Erica Morris went outside to find her 13-month-old sister, Kainani, at the bottom of the family swimming pool. She wasn’t moving, and when pulled from the water, she remained unresponsive. Rockford Police Chief Dave Jones told the story before a packed audience at Rockford City Hall on Monday, Dec. 12. He described the harrowing scene, as Erica quickly pulled her little sister’s lifeless body from the water. Erica’s screams awoke her father, who found her performing CPR on the baby. Rockford Police Officer Derek Haan was the first rescue personnel on the scene. He took over efforts to try to save Kainani. Haan was followed by Rockford firefighters and Rockford Ambulance paramedics, who continued lifesaving procedure as they began the trip to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. As they worked to restore her heart and breathing, they saw the little body respond, drawing breath prior to arrival at the hospital. Six months later, the smiling, energetic child was the guest of honor at the evening meeting, pushed in her stroller past the dozen or so individuals who are responsible for her life. “We didn’t expect a good outcome on this call,” Jones said of the near-tragedy. Jones spoke before the group of rescue workers who participated, who stood at the front of the packed room. “Today we have as a guest someone who I think you will be very happy to see.” Tom Morris pushed the happy Kainani from rescue worker to rescue worker, who each leaned down to admire the friendly child. Recognized at the meeting were Officer Derek Haan, firefighters Dan Vincent, Casey Bennett, Mike Bouwkamp, Benjamin Holbert, Ken Phillips, Jason Vanhorn and Kyle Wendling, and paramedics John Peot and Andrew Good, as well as Tom and Erica Morris. As the final honor of the evening, Jones had officer Haan step forward to accept a Lifesaving pin in recognition of his part in bringing Kainani back from death only after a mere one year of life. “As Rockford’s police chief, this is the first Lifesaving Pin that I have awarded. It is also the last Lifesaving Pin I will award, as the police and fire departments will soon […]

Journalism is a service industry and the service we provide is awareness.

March 18, 2010 // 0 Comments

Tent/tarp drive to help during rainy season A trip to Haiti following January’s earthquake may be over for Rockford Police officer Derek “Duke” Haan, but his changed perspective will stay with him for a lifetime. So will his determination to help Haitians, which he shares with Rockford in a tarp and tent drive he hopes residents will use to offer their help to people of the struggling country. Before joining the Rockford Police Department 18 years ago, Haan was a Rockford Ambulance paramedic. He is cousins with Tim Ryan, who founded Haitineedsyou years ago, a Haitian relief organization. With regular trips to Haiti to improve the conditions of natives of that impoverished country, Ryan had a team in place bound to leave when the earthquake hit that devastated the nation. “He did a complete turnaround and switched out the people who were scheduled to go with medical trauma people,” Haan reported. Knowing Haan’s background in the medical field, Ryan asked if he would be interested in joining the crew. Haan had never been on a mission trip and was nervous about the prospect. “I didn’t know if I was the right person to go. As a paramedic, we take people to the doctor and to the care they need. We don’t provide that level of medical care that doctors do,” he said. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that he should go and do what he could. “Who else is there? Who else is going to do it?” He talked to his wife about going, knowing that the country is still far from safe. The prison system is in total collapse and the Haitian police have a shoot-on-sight policy for suspected prisoners. Stories of looting, rampant illness and other unsafe conditions are still very much a reality. “If she was afraid for my safety, I don’t know if she would admit it,” Haan said of his wife. She said he should go and offer whatever aid was possible. If it weren’t for university exams she was finishing up, she would have gone too. Like Haan, she also has a background as paramedic and is in fact just finishing her nursing degree. Next Haan approached his bosses at Rockford City Hall and […]