Jeffrey Allan Cook of Gladstone, Missouri, a 24+ Year Active Veteran Boy Scout Leader and a longtime Board Member of the United Methodist Church, has been notified by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America that he will be awarded the Honor Medal for Heroism stemming from his actions in saving the life of a woman in the aftermath of a high-speed car crash on the afternoon of July 27, 2011 at 4:15pm.
Cook was struck twice by cars at the intersection of NE 72nd Street and North Prospect Avenue/Missouri Highway 1 in Gladstone, Missouri, while being the first responder in trying to stop the car of a woman who was broadsided by a late model Lincoln traveling in excess of 45mph. The woman, while in shock, attempted to drive her car after the collision, posing risk not only to herself, but to others who were stopped at the intersection. Her 1999 Toyota was leading gasoline, oil and radiator fluid, and smoke was also billowing from under her hood, posing a serious gasoline fire risk as the gas line had been ruptured in the collision. The driver of the Lincoln was westbound on NE 72nd and was trying to turn left in order to clear the intersection before the woman's car reached the intersection from the west, but ended up broadsiding the woman's car, running a red light in the process. Cook responded without hesitation, as he was the driver of the first car in the left turning lane of the northbound lanes of Missouri Highway 1. After an unsuccessful attempt to get the woman to stop her car (by beating on the front passenger side window in order to get her attention). Cook ran around the front of her car WHILE she was driving, placed his right arm inside her partially opened door window (while running alongside the car), found the car door release handle to open the door, then pulled on the driver's side door until it opened. Once opened, Cook continued running alongside her car with his left leg outside the car (by this time he had been hit twice in the left knee), his left hand holding on to the door, his right foot reaching for the break, and his right hand on the steering wheel trying to maneuver the car away from the cars that were stopped in the northbound lanes. Once he was able to stop the car, he placed it in "park", turned off the ignition, removed the key from the ignition and dropped it on the floorboard so that the car could not accidentally start. Cook then immobilized the woman by placing his right forearm across her shoulders in order to make close eye contact, administered first aid to her bleeding nose and mouth while providing comforting words and songs, all the while maintaining constant eye contact to keep the woman lucid until paramedics arrived. In his effort to reach her car, he had to dodge other cars and trucks exceeding the speed limit trying to clear the intersection before paramedics and police could arrive at the scene and effectively close the intersection to any traffic.