“We couldn’t save his legs, but we saved his life”

By Terah Fox

Gabby Boncal, Dillon Williams and Bill Boncal.

Gabby Boncal, Dillon Williams and Bill Boncal.

What could’ve easily been a tragedy is now a story of hope for one young man in western New York, thanks to the quick thinking and actions of one of our own.

Bill Boncal is a hot stick lineman in Buffalo and a 30-year National Grid employee. He said July 16, 2015, was an ordinary day. His daughter Gabby’s boyfriend, Dillon Williams was at Boncal’s home, mowing a field using a brush hog. While mowing, he lost his footing and fell. Before Williams could clear its path, the brush hog went over both of his legs.

Boncal heard the commotion and quickly reached the scene. “I didn’t have a lot of time to think,” he said. “He was in pretty bad shape and I knew we had to stop the bleeding. I just grabbed what we had, the belts we were wearing, and made tourniquets with them.”

Sherrif’s Deputy Benjamin Pisa arrived on the scene a short time later and replaced Boncal’s makeshift tourniquets with combat and tactical ones. Thanks to the tourniquets, the bleeding slowed enough to transport Williams to the hospital for emergency care. His injuries were such that both legs had to be amputated above the knee.

“We couldn’t save his legs, but we saved his life and he’s doing well today,” Boncal said. “He’s gone through all of his surgeries and he recently received prosthetic legs. It’s really great to see.”

This year, Boncal and Deputy Pisa were honored by the Erie County Deputy Sheriffs Badge & Shield Club, citing the “heroic measures” of both men. Boncal received the Joseph Wachowiak Outstanding Citizen Award, while Deputy Pisa received the William R. Dils Deputy of the Year Award.

“It’s not about the recognition for me,” Boncal said, sharing a recent photo of his daughter fishing alongside Williams. “This. This is what it’s all about.”

Gabby and Dillon on a recent fishing trip. Dillon’s “track chair” can cross uneven surfaces, allowing him to enjoy some of the same outdoor activities he did before.

Gabby and Dillon on a recent fishing trip. Dillon’s “track chair” can cross uneven surfaces, allowing him to enjoy some of the same outdoor activities he did before.

Bill is also featured in our New York Electric Operations Safety Profiles poster series for the month of June. Check it out here.

 

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