Bellingham Herald carrier receives award for lifesaving rescue

Gary Spurling, a newspaper carrier for The Bellingham Herald, received the Whatcom County sheriff’s Distinguished Citizenship Award for saving the life of a fellow carrier in a November 2014 flood.

Sheriff Bill Elfo presented the award to Spurling at the Tuesday, March 31, County Council meeting.

On Nov. 29 Spurling rushed from the Herald office in Bellingham to Barrett Road east of Ferndale, where the car driven by carrier Dennis Dupraw, 81, had been picked up by Nooksack River flood waters. Dupraw had called the office after becoming trapped inside the car. Herald workers, meanwhile, called 911 for help.

Spurling got there first. He waded into the frigid water, with the air temperature at 20 degrees, and pulled Dupraw from the vehicle.

“Undoubtedly, his heroic actions saved Mr. Dupraw’s life,” Elfo said of Spurling in the short presentation before council.

“The Sheriff’s Office Distinguished Citizenship Award is awarded to any citizen who supports the Sheriff’s Office mission in a significant way, and certainly part of our mission is protecting human life,” Elfo said.