Family shares story of how EMS saved a life

Some of the heroes recognized for saving lives in San Benito County gather at the front of the supervisors' chambers Tuesday.

The County Board of Supervisors approved a proclamation of May 20-26 as Emergency Medical Services Week, with May 23 designated as “EMS for Children Day.” On May 23, families will be able to bring kids to the local fire stations to learn about smoke alarms. The agency will give out 50 free smoke alarms, with 25 donated by Ace Hardware.

As part of the recognition before the supervisors at Tuesday’s meeting, Marcie Morrow, the emergency medical services coordinator for the county, talked about some of the people who have saved lives locally.

“The theme for 2012 is ‘More than a Job; A Calling,’” Morrow said. “We do not choose the field for the big salaries, the comfortable working conditions or the nine-to-five hours.”

Morrow said many of the people working in emergency medical services chose it because they have a calling to help and care for those in need.

She provided three examples where teams of local emergency medical professionals helped with save lives. After the supervisors meeting, they held a reception at the Hollister Fire Station.

Morrow recognized Officer Scott Jenson, a CHP officer who on Feb. 16, 2011 responded to a head-on collision. She said that when Jenson arrived at the scene, one of the drivers had sustained major injuries and was not able to breathe. Jenson opened the patient’s airway and administered care until paramedics arrived.

Next, Morrow recognized a team of people who responded when a female was found floating unconscious in a pool at a local athletic club. Those involved in the rescue included communications dispatchers Billy Barrett and Keri Cooper; American Medical Response’s Steven Sotomayor and Kris Klay; Hollister Fire Department’s Kenny Melin, Sean Olguin and Vince Grewohl; Hazel Hawkins’ San Wong and Kristi Piccoli, as well as citizens who responded immediately including James Schafer, Danielle Simin, Jeannie Simin and a staff member at the athletic club.

More recently, a team worked together to save the life of Debra Crabtree, who suffered a cardiac arrest on April 6. Her husband, Dennis, called 911 and immediately began to administer CPR.

“A citizen hero initially administered CPR and it really saved this woman’s life,” Morrow said.

Debra took the podium while Dennis talked about their ordeal. Dennis said he

is retired from the fire service so at first he was trying to tell the emergency medical professionals what they needed to do.

“A young police lady got me out of the room,” he said. “I was hysterical. They shocked her three times and got her to the hospital.”

At Hazel Hawkins, Debra was not responding well to treatment so the staff there recommended flying her with Calstar to San Jose Regional Medical Center.

The pair thanked the group of people who helped, from the paramedics who arrived to the pilot who flew her to the regional medical center. Those involved included: dispatcher Gina Loftin; American Medical Response’s Bradlee Jones and Dustin Van Gundy; Hollister Fire Department’s Charlie Bedolla, Wayne Thomas and Phil Rossi; Calfire’s Josh Silveria and Armando Michalski; Hazel Hawkins’ Mary Dowell, Steven Gallion and Jeffrey Peterson; and Calstar’s Kerry Brown, Syrina Shuebruk and Neal Winterling.

“My wife made it and I am very glad to have her here,” Dennis Crabtree said.

Off-road group earns blue ribbon award

The Hollister Hills Off-Road Association (HHORA) received the Blue Ribbon Award from the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Hollister. The San Benito Board of Supervisors presented the award to Des Hughes, HHORA president at Tuesday’s meeting.

The award was in recognition of HHORA’s continued support to San Benito County Child Protective Services. For more than 30 years, HHORA has been holding an annual family event at Hollister Hills SVRA where their “youth ambassador” sets up a “rummy run” course for participants. Local organizations donate prizes and all of the proceeds go to the San Benito County Child Protective Services.

“April was Child Abuse Prevention month,” said Maria Corona, the interim director of the county’s Health and Human Services Agency. “We give the award to an organization that benefits the health, safety and well-being of children.”

Corona said the donations from the off-road group have long supported activities that are not covered by state and federal funds.

“It is for non-recurring costs that are not covered for children in the system,” she said, such as a day camp, nutrition and more.

This year’s event will be held Oct. 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The off-road association is a nonprofit organization and its members put on four events in the park every year. Check the website for more information about the association and other events.

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