Winter Park honors Home Town Heroes |

Winter Park honors Home Town Heroes

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
ALL | Sky-Hi Daily News

Poet Dr. Maya Angelou said, “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”

Recognizing Grand County Home Town Heroes, Fraser/Winter Park Police Officer Dave Mowery and “shero” Detective Amy Zacek Smith, also is a celebration of Taylor Short, her birth and lifesaving by the quick and professional actions of Mowery and Zacek Smith.

Officer Mowery joined the Fraser-Winter Park Police Department in July 2006. “I was finding myself in this area so much because I enjoy downhill skiing and mountain biking that I was excited about the opportunity to work for this community,” he said.

Mowery has an extensive law enforcement background beginning in 1992 as a patrol officer, crime scene investigator, SWAT sniper and crimes against children detective, both in Lakewood and the City and County of Denver. But delivering a newborn, especially in a McDonald’s, was a first for him this August.

“I was on duty at the Salute to American Veterans Rally in Hideaway Park when a call was dispatched for a woman in labor at McDonald’s,” he explained.

“I was the first to arrive and I could see she was about to give birth. I got Christel, the mother, to lie down immediately on the floor of the restroom. Thankfully Detective Amy Zacek Smith arrived as back-up in literally seconds,” he added. “We usually team up on calls. This was one of those important times when our experiences blended perfectly. We are so thankful to be there at the right time.”

Also highly qualified and experienced, now Detective Amy Zacek Smith joined the Fraser/Winter Park Police Department in June 2005. In addition to law enforcement experience with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and City of Jefferson, Mo., Zacek Smith started out in the Chandler, Ariz., Police Department in 1990 and became an officer in 1997.

“Ironically, while I worked the road in Chandler, I was first on the scene to a woman in labor at her residence. I arrived just as the baby was crowning. Thankfully, the paramedics arrived quickly so I did not have to deliver the baby. It was obvious when I arrived in the Winter Park McDonald’s that my time had come to help deliver this baby girl,” she said, laughing.

“They were both so calm. Amy told me to breath and push. Officer Mowery was helping me adjust my position on the floor, which was covered in towels by now,” said Christel Short by telephone from her Colorado Springs home recently. “I was really worried about the baby because she was not breathing or crying.”

“It was tense because this baby did not come out crying. I could see the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck,” Mowerys said. “Amy was able to wiggle her fingers under it to get it loose and off. She handed the still baby girl to me. We both were trying to stimulate the baby. Just then our paramedics arrived. I asked for a bulb syringe to suction out her mouth and nose. It was great to hear a little squeak out of her,” he said.

All involved in the “Winter Park McDonald’s Miracle” point out that many heroes emerged because the staff provided towels and privacy, other volunteers and officers stepped in with crowd control, traffic management, and other emergency services.

The purest demonstration of “every day heroes and caring.” That is what the Grand County Home Town Hero First Responder program is designed to applaud.

” If you would like to nominate a local hero for consideration for this Community Award, please contact Dr. Penny Hamilton at or call 887-1881. The Home Town Hero award is co-sponsored by Sky-Hi Daily News and Forest and Lake Real Estate.

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