Dave Williamson and Ashley Shiraz exchanged an embrace Wednesday in the council chambers at the Crawfordsville Municipal Building
That hug celebrated a reunion from Nov. 8, 2022.
Shiraz was one of 15 local heroes honored for two lifesaving instances late last year. The awards were presented by Kraig Kinney, Director of EMS for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security; Paul Miller, Crawfordsville Fire Department EMS Division Chief; and Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton.
“This is quite a unique event,” Miller said. “Typically only about 10% or less are able to survive sudden cardiac arrest. There’s obviously been a lot of news since the Buffalo football team had an event on the field and it brought a lot more awareness to this.”
Bills player Damar Hamlin suffered “sudden cardiac arrest,” which is different than traditional cardiac arrest.
“Sudden cardiac arrest occurs without notice,” Kinney said. “It gives the greatest opportunity to make a difference when you have a system that can respond.”
Miller pointed to the tradition of CPR education in the area.
“This dates back to the mayor (a former Crawfordsville Fire Chief),” Miller said. “We still have some of the CPR mannequins that were in the community teaching CPR. It’s been a tradition of making an impact in the community.”
On Nov. 8, just after noon, the 70-year-old Williamson was expecting to enjoy lunch at the Long John Silver’s restaurant on South Washington Street where Shiraz is a manager. Instead, he collapsed and Shiraz had to rush to his side to render aid. Retired firefighter/EMT Bob Heisel joined her. The duo immediately started CPR on Williamson, a former longtime area educator, coach and avid golfer, who was in sudden cardiac arrest.
Williamson credits their fast action, plus the response of the Crawfordsville Fire Department for his ability to attend the awards ceremony Wednesday to honor Shiraz; Heisel and the CFD C Shift engine and medic crew, which includes paramedic Joel Sietsma, PFF/EMT Brendan Mitchell, firefighter/paramedic Mitchell McCollum, firefighter/EMT Andrew Traylor and Battalion Chief Nate Patton.
The other incident to create local heroes occurred just before 1 a.m. Dec. 12, 2022. A Raybestos co-worker of Mike Harvey, Zach Kirts, Pat Lott and Joseph Surber fell to the floor during their shift in cardiac arrest. The quick thinking of the quartet helped bring their fellow employee back to life using CPR and the Automated External Defibrillator unit.
Those four also were honored along with CFD’s Lt. Justin Sparrow, firefighter/paramedic Daryn Clifford, firefighter/EMT Colton Meadows and firefighter/paramedic Jeffrey Lawley.
“The quick action and continued care allowed the patient to even be awake and talking by the time he arrived at the hospital,” Kinney said.
Kinney applauded those esteemed by mentioning about 356,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur each year with nearly 70% of those in residences and 19% in public.
“What we have to do has to be perfectly timed,” he said. “It’s having trained people, equipment and staff. I’m glad to be here because we have two shining examples where that occurred in your community and should be celebrated.”
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