National Prize Winner Registered Nurse Category

RN risks his life to save electrocuted construction worker

David Zullo, RN, EMT-P, a registered nurse from Marrero, La., was cutting his grass when he sprung into action to save a man who had been severely electrocuted. Going above and beyond the call of duty, he had to balance himself on an eight-inch-wide steel beam 30 feet above the ground while holding the man for 30 minutes, until emergency personnel arrived.

For the enormous risk he took to save the life of a man he didn't know, Zullo is one of 10 honorees nationwide to receive the prestigious Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. The award is granted annually by Cherokee Uniforms to recognize nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who demonstrate exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation and have a positive impact on others' lives. This is the 6th year Cherokee Uniforms has honored inspirational caregivers, with hopes that the winners' stories will encourage the nation's brightest students to enter the healthcare professions. 

"My greatest joys are the never-ending surprises, and that private, inner feeling you get when you know that you have made a difference in someone's life."

Zullo is the third New Orleans-area healthcare professional to receive the national award in three years.

"A young man lives today because David Zullo risked life and limb without a second thought for his own wellbeing or comfort. He couldn't be more of a hero if he were wearing tights and a cape," says Wendell Mobley, who directs the company's charitable and scholarship programs.

When Zullo heard an electrical explosion, the off-duty volunteer paramedic and former marine raced 40 yards toward the scene. On the roof of a two-story building under construction, a worker had been guiding an I-beam suspended in midair when the heavy equipment touched an electrical line, badly burning the man. When Zullo saw what had happened, he scurried up a ladder and balanced on a secured beam which was nearly 30 feet above the ground to reach the injured man. He supported the man's weight until the paramedics and fire department arrived.

"There is no doubt in my mind that David will respond like this in any and every situation," says his nominator, former colleague and 2006 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipient, Kerry Jeanice. "He places his life on the line because he knows he can make a difference every day that he is on the streets, serving the community."

As a National Winner in the award's Registered Nurse category, Zullo receives an all-expense-paid trip to a 2009 medical conference, an annual membership to his preferred clinical association, a $1000 wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee footwear and a glass trophy. He also will appear in the nationally distributed Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award 2009 calendar.

When asked what he likes most about the nursing profession, Zullo remarked, "My greatest joys are the never-ending surprises, and that private, inner feeling you get when you know that you have made a difference in someone's life."

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, nearly 7,000 healthcare professionals have been nominated in the Registered Nurse, Advanced Practice Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse, Student Nurse and Non-Physician Healthcare Professional categories. A panel of Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to Nurse's House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship. Proceeds from Cherokee Uniforms products support healthcare professionals through initiatives such as the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, an annual calendar and the A Nurse I Am Film and Scholarship Program. Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2009 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1st through May 31st, 2009.

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