Emergency first responders who sacrifice so much to keep you safe up for Who Cares Wins award… – The Sun

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THEY are the frontline heroes who sacrifice so much to keep us safe.
For this year’s Who Cares Wins awards we are ushering in a new 999 Hero category to honour our amazing first responders.
We were flooded with incredible entries but these three represent the best of our emergency services.
They include paramedics who stared down danger, army officers who deployed hundreds of military workers to boost the front-line response to Covid and brave air ambulance workers who battled the harshest of conditions to keep those in their care safe.
Here we meet the three finalists who will be recognised in this month’s glittering ceremony hosted by Davina McCall.
PARAMEDICS Deena Evans and Mick Hipgrave were on a regular call-out when they were accosted by a knife-wielding attacker.
Mum-of-three Deena, 40, was left close to death after she was stabbed twice in the chest, while her colleague Mick, 52, was wounded as he tried to protect her.
But despite the ordeal, the brave pair are both back working on the front line.
Former hairdresser Deena said: "A lot of people said to me 'you're mad to go back to work'. 
The Who Cares Wins awards honour those who have helped take care of the nation.
Here are the categories:
“I was offered roles in the control room but I'm not trained to sit behind a computer. 
“I'm trained to do this job. Why should I let anybody take that away from me?"
The attack happened when the pair were called to the home of Martyn Smith, 53, who hadn't been seen by his mother for three days.
Deena – who has three daughters aged seven, 12 and 13 – said: "We had no reason to suspect anything untoward or dangerous. 
“His mum was really very worried so we decided it was very important to force entry and make sure he was safe."
Deena and Mick removed the front door and as Deena stepped inside before Smith jumped out from behind the kitchen door holding two eight-inch blades.
She added: "One slashed the side of my chest and one went into my chest. At first, I didn't realise I'd been stabbed. 
“Shock and adrenaline took over and I thought he'd punched me.
“Mick stepped in front of me to push me out of the way. I felt him surge forwards and thought he'd been punched as well.
“I looked down and saw my gloves were covered in blood. I pulled out my t-shirt and saw I had a large hole in my chest. 
“I pressed my emergency button and shouted 'I've been stabbed, I've been stabbed'. I remember Mick saying 'me too'.”
The pair ran out to the garden to escape, where they both collapsed.
Deena added: “I remember grabbing one of the female officers and saying: 'Please don't let me die. I have three children, please don't let me die.’”
The pair were taken to the trauma unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, where they were treated for their serious injuries. Both Deena and Mick returned to work towards the end of 2020.
The pair were nominated by their senior operations manager Richard Barratt, 38, who attended to them on the day with paramedic John Braggington.
He said: "In my 20 years as a paramedic, I've never heard anything as harrowing.
"To hear people who are both your friends and colleagues screaming for help and to hear the fear and panic in their voices, it's something nobody should ever go through.”
Their attacker Smith, 52, was jailed for nine years in July, where the judge at Wolverhampton Crown Court praised the paramedics' "courage and bravery in the most challenging of circumstances".
ARMY officer Major Emma Allen MBE gave up nearly 800 hours of her own time to volunteer as an emergency co-responder during the Covid pandemic.
She also played a pivotal role in drafting in military personnel to help overstretched paramedics at the peak of the crisis. 
Major Allen mobilised members of the Army, RAF and Royal Navy to drive ambulances, transport patients and answer 999 calls to the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS).
The 38-year-old, from Tidworth, Wilts has since been awarded an MBE for her work during the pandemic. 
She has served 15 years in the Army and also recently completed a six-month tour of Afghanistan. 
Major Allen, who began volunteering for SCAS three years ago, said: "My husband and I were looking for a hobby and I read an article in a magazine about co-responders.
"We signed up as we wanted to give something back to the community. We could be called to anything from category one calls such as breathing difficulties and cardiac arrests to trips and falls. 
“It's hard to explain the sense of achievement you get from doing this as a volunteer – you arrive when people are at their most vulnerable, and sometimes they are critically ill. 
“You always feel like you've made a difference.
In March 2020, Major Allen discussed with her SCAS manager how the military might be able to assist the Covid effort.
She said: "The strength of the team we provided was phenomenal. We were able to free up ambulances to deal with those who needed them most. 
“I genuinely believe we made a difference. We could never say how many lives we saved but we all know that what we did made a difference.”
Emma praised both the ambulance service she worked with and her husband – Major James Allen, 42, who serves with the Royal Artillery –  who was by her side throughout the whole experience.
Nicola Dunbar, 48, head of operations at SCAS, nominated Major Allen and argued it was thanks to her that military staff treated nearly 8,000 patients in a five-month period.
"Demand at the peak of the pandemic was like nothing we'd ever experienced and staffing levels were low," Nicola explained.
"Major Allen was key in getting military personnel in to help us. She worked her absolute socks off and got everything up and running in a matter of days.”
DUNCAN Stevenson has nominated the air ambulance crew who saved his life after he 'died' seven times on board the rescue helicopter in treacherous conditions.
Duncan, 58, a management consultant from Biggar, South Lanarkshire in Scotland, was walking around Loch Tay with friends when he began to feel unwell.
He recalled: "I'd always been fit and well so this came out of the blue
"We were out walking and suddenly I started to feel very unwell. I tried to brush it aside thinking it was a migraine but I was getting worse. 
“My mates realised I was seriously ill and went to find help. They found a farmer with a 4×4 who was able to pick me up and take me back to our accommodation. It was sleeting, snowing and quite windy. 
“An ambulance was called but because of the weather it took a while to arrive. I was in denial but I was experiencing chest pains and it became pretty clear I was having a heart attack."
When paramedics arrived on scene, they told Duncan the nearest hospital was two hours away and that they would have to call the air ambulance.
The crew from Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance arrived, we took off and whilst on board I had seven heart attacks."
Duncan was resuscitated seven times as they fought to fly him to Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.
He said: "After we took off, it became clear it was really rough conditions. I could feel the helicopter buffeting up and down.
"The crew were absolutely fantastic, constantly reassuring me as I drifted in and out of consciousness. My heart kept stopping and they kept bringing me back to life.
"The helicopter would drop a little, then go back up again so I also started getting quite sick."
Incredibly, the team – pilot Shaun Rose, 54, and paramedics John Pritchard, 52, and Richard Garside, 44 – got Duncan to hospital safely. 
He was rushed into surgery, where doctors discovered a blocked artery – he had a stent fitted and is now doing well.
Duncan nominated the crew for saving his life.
Shaun has worked for air ambulance charities since 1998 carrying out over 10,000 missions.
He's also worked for Search and Rescue and has flown the likes of Tom Cruise and Vladimir Putin on corporate jobs – but he says taking Duncan to hospital in February 2020 was the most challenging flight of his career.
"It was one of those one in a million jobs and there is no doubt if we hadn't been there, Duncan would have died," he says.
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