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Three Santa Cruz County men honored for helping to save life of fire captain injured on hunting trip

lifesave-award-recipients lucas
Shelly Alberi
In a virtual ceremony, Chad Lucas of Watsonville (left), Raymond Harris of Aptos (second from left), and Danny Lucas Jr. of Watsonville (right) received awards from the Central Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross for the "extraordinary action" each took to save the life of longtime Watsonville Fire Department Captain Danny Lucas (second from right) following a hunting accident in Montana a year ago.

CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. (KION) The American Red Cross has awarded three Santa Cruz County men for their efforts to save the life of a Watsonville fire captain after he was injured in a hunting accident.

Captain Danny Lucas' sons, Danny Lucas Jr. and Chad Lucas of Watsonville, and Lucas' father-in-law, Raymond Harris of Aptos, received the Certificates of Extraordinary Personal Action, an award given to people who step up in an emergency to help save or sustain a life.

"In all likelihood, Danny Lucas would not have survived without the heroic efforts that his family members made in the seconds, minutes, and hours that followed his accident," said Michele Averill, the CEO of the local chapter of the Red Cross.

In November 2018, Lucas was accidentally shot while on a hunting trip with his sons and father-in-law by a Montana resident who joined their party, and the bullet hit his left leg, shattering his femur above the knee and tearing the femoral artery.

When he was shot, the Red Cross said his family members applied an emergency tourniquet and were able to take him through remote terrain to the nearest hospital, which was two hours away.

Lucas spent 41 days in the hospital recovering and received 24 units of blood, according to the Red Cross. As a result of his injuries, the lower half of his left leg was amputated. Since December, he has been recovering at his home in Watsonville.

Since his return, Lucas has worked to promote blood donations and sponsor a February blood drive out of gratitude for the people who donated the blood that helped to save his own life. The Red Cross said it collected 80 units at the drive, and usually the events are considered successful if they get 30. It is believed to be a record amount in Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties.

"Danny's support of that and other Central Coast blood drives, coming during his own challenging recuperation, is plenty heroic," Averill said. "But that wasn't the focus of today's ceremony. Today, we honored the three people who — through their courageous and compassionate actions that day — saved a life."

The men were awarded during a virtual ceremony by the Red Cross' Central Coast Chapter Tuesday. Lucas and his wife, Cindi, were part of the ceremony and helped to honor their sons and Cindi's father.

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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