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Day: July 8, 2014

Employer offers reward to find missing Keizer man

Robert Knupp of Keizer was last seen Saturday, June 7 in Albany.
Robert Knupp of Keizer was last seen Saturday, June 7 in Albany.

The employer of a Keizer-area man reported missing June 8 is offering a reward of up to $500 for information that helps authorities find him.

Robert Allen Knupp, 54, was reported missing to Oregon State Police (OSP) after his vehicle was found unoccupied at the Santiam Rest Area along Interstate 5 south of Salem.

Knupp is described as a white male, 5’11”, and 215 pounds, with brown salt and pepper hair and a short beard. He was last known to be wearing a blue print Hawaiian-style shirt with khaki pants, white socks and brown leather tie shoes. He was driving a 1993 Geo Metro passenger car found locked Sunday, June 8, about midnight at the rest area. He was last seen in Albany on Saturday, June 7.

Knupp has worked for 17 years at Garten Services, Inc., a Salem-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 1970 to support people with disabilities in their effort to contribute to the community through employment, career and retirement opportunities. At the time of his disappearance, Knupp was working as a custodial supervisor.

Garten Services, Inc., has established an account at US Bank under “Robert Knupp Reward Fund” in case anyone wishes to donate.

Anyone with information regarding Knupp’s whereabouts is asked to call OSP Northern Command Center dispatch at 800-452-7888. The lead investigator is Detective Richard Olsen.

‘Keep an eye out for No. 56’

McNary High School alum Perry Groves will play for the Portland State University Vikings this fall. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary High School alum Perry Groves will play for the Portland State University Vikings this fall. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The grin McNary High School grad Perry Groves gets when you ask him what he’s most excited about in regard to his future as a Portland State University linebacker is infectious.

“I’m really excited for everything,” Groves, who plans to study mechanical engineering, said. “I wanted to find a good school that I could enjoy and fit into first.”

He found the atmosphere around the football team matched the general feel of the campus.

“Right off the bat, I saw the close connection between all the players on the team and wanted to be part of it,” Groves said.

Groves signed on to play for the Vikings earlier this year after a three-sport career as a Celtic in football, swimming and track and field.

“Perry is one of the most phenomenal athletes to come through this school, and one of his goals this year was to make the Groves name proud. He’s done a fabulous job of that,” said Isaac Parker, McNary head football coach.

On the gridiron, Groves has been a presence on the varsity defensive line since his freshman year, but he became one of the team’s leaders as an upperclassman.

“Perry inspired the team. Everyone felt like they had a chance to win because we had Perry on the field,” said Parker.

Lester Towns, an assistant coach and recruitment coordinator for PSU, said he first met Groves when he took part in the Northwest Elite camp and said he’s excited to work with him.

“He has the size that I’m looking for at linebacker,” Towns said. “It’s hard to find a linebacker that is his size and that can move. He is very athletic, and I think he can play multiple positions.”

Towns said Groves’ first priority will be earning his degree, but he’s not shy about his expectations on the field.

“I see Perry developing into a top linebacker for PSU. As far as how soon that will happen, it is up to Perry and the commitment and dedication he puts into it. I believe in him and expect it to happen early in his career. Just Keep an eye out for No. 56,” Towns said.

KFD chief marks 30 years as paramedic

Keizer Fire district Chief Jeff Cowan was honored last month for 30 years as a nationally-registered paramedic. (Submitted)
Keizer Fire district Chief Jeff Cowan was honored last month for 30 years as a nationally-registered paramedic. (Submitted)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Jeff Cowan knew certain things after he completed his paramedic training 30 years ago.

“I was a 21-year-old paramedic, I didn’t even shave every day. I was very clinical. I knew my drugs, my doses, and I knew them forwards, backwards and chapter and verse,” said Cowan, chief of the Keizer Fire District, who celebrated the 30th anniversary of obtaining his paramedic license last month.

But there are things you cannot learn or prepare for by reading a textbook and taking a test. November 1987, while he was working in Kitsap County, Wash., was one of them.

Career firefighters and paramedics only work 10 24-hour shifts a month. In an average year, a single paramedic can expect to encounter a dozen or so fatal calls. In November 1987, Cowan and his partner responded to nine calls involving fatalities, one in almost every shift they worked.

“It was gunshot wounds, car crashes, a teen suicide, a kid falling asleep at the wheel and crashing into a tree. Everything,” Cowan said. His speech accelerated recalling each one, his voice trembling slightly.

The final fatality involved a child who had been playing in his cousin’s yard when he was run over by a three-wheeled ATV.

“He had a bad head injury. We were half an hour from help, and I called for a helicopter to have the kid flown to Seattle. The mom came up to me, grabbed me by the collar, and yelled, ‘You have to save my baby,’” he said.

Despite Cowan and his partner’s best efforts the child’s condition kept faltering. They had to open his airway through his throat, they couldn’t get an IV started and, when pediatric nurses arrived on the scene loaded for bear, it seemed to make little difference.

“I decided to try an intraosseous infusion where you put the needle directly into the bone marrow and start giving the patient fluid. Nowadays, we’ve got a bone drill on the ambulance for that purpose, but we had to do it by hand back then,” he said.

The procedure was common going back as far as the 1930s but, at the time, it was like something Cowan summoned up from the dark ages. The infusion worked, but the child was beyond saving and died after arriving at the hospital.

Cowan and his partner went back to the station, called for back-up and spent the rest of the afternoon in a bar. Both talked seriously about quitting the profession.

“It’s easy to focus on the work, but it’s when you get into the emotional part that weighs on you,” Cowan said. “I’m lucky in that I don’t wake up in the middle of the night with flashbacks, but that happens to people, too, and it’s no fault of their own. It was a bad day, but there’s a lot of hard calls and they come and they go. Over the years things got better and better.”

In the mid-1990s Cowan traded in shift work for becoming a program supervisor and took the helm of KFD seven years ago. While the decision to take on administrator roles was motivated by the need to spend more time with his family on a regular basis, he had to change his mindset in regard to the work itself.

“I had to starting thinking about it differently,” he said. “In the ambulance I could help 100 people a month. As a supervisor, I might impact 3,000 people a year.”

Through it all, he’s renewed his paramedic license every two years and maintained his status with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, the organization that honored him.

“It’s not an easy process to complete every two years, but I’m grateful to have a board of directors that sees this as important and gives me the time I need to work on it,” Cowan said. “I’m the luckiest guy on earth because I love what I do and I get to make a difference.”