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Meeting a life-saving challenge

It was about a month ago when Tim Holland was going through his daily routine at Twin City Fan in Mitchell. He was assembling parts at about 9 a.m. at his workstation when he didn't hear a response from a co-worker that he was calling out nearby....

Mitchell Chief of Public Safety Lyndon Overweg thanks Tim Holland, left, and Crystal Allen, center, on Friday for their part in saving a co-worker's life last month at Twin City Fan in Mitchell. The business was honored honored with the Lifesaver Award presented by Mitchell's Department of Public Safety. (Sheila Slater / Republic)
Mitchell Chief of Public Safety Lyndon Overweg thanks Tim Holland, left, and Crystal Allen, center, on Friday for their part in saving a co-worker's life last month at Twin City Fan in Mitchell. The business was honored honored with the Lifesaver Award presented by Mitchell's Department of Public Safety. (Sheila Slater / Republic)

It was about a month ago when Tim Holland was going through his daily routine at Twin City Fan in Mitchell.

He was assembling parts at about 9 a.m. at his workstation when he didn't hear a response from a co-worker that he was calling out nearby. That was when Holland and his colleagues had to snap into action.

From there, quick action and smart thinking saved the life of a co-worker for suffering a heart attack at work. That effort was formally recognized on Friday, as a delegation of Mitchell's public safety leaders, including Public Safety Chief Lyndon Overweg and Assistant Fire Chief Marius Laursen, honored the employees during a presentation of the city's Lifesaver Award. That honor is presented to a person or group of people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

On Nov. 16, the longtime Twin City Fan axial division employee Holland said he saw his 56-year-old colleague laying on the ground, turning purple and unresponsive.

"It was scary. I was trained in CPR before, but I kind of panicked when I found him," Holland said. "He is my close friend. I immediately got on the phone and called our supervisor."

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While Holland was calling supervisor Mike Tomas, Crystal Allen rushed in to assist.

"I actually just had gone through the emergency training about a month or two before this happened," Allen said. "I think that is what kept me calm."

The third person at the scene was Jason Rhoades.

"I had gone through the training but never used the AED machine on a real person before. Just last year, I went through the EMT training that is offered at the Mitchell Fire Department. It came in pretty handy in this situation," Rhoades said.

Good planning at the plant helped deliver a happy result. The management of Twin City Fan mandates that its supervisors and lead staff complete a safety class, including CPR and training with an automated external defibrillator, which is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm of a person.

If needed, as it was in this instance, the device sends an electric shock to the heart of the victim to try to restore a normal rhythm. Twin City Fan stores its AED in the center of the plant for access in the case of an emergency.

Tiffany Boehmer, an emergency medical technician for the city of Mitchell, was on duty when the situation was called in with a man suffering from cardiopulmonary arrest.

"It's not very often that we get called to a code and we show up and the person is responsive and breathing. These guys did an amazing job," Boehmer said.

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While thanking all the employees for their quick responses, Overweg stressed the importance and difference every single employee made that day. He said that the employees embodied the best aspects of a team.

"Whether you played a major role during this emergency, or were just simply here at work, you all played a role in this amazing outcome for that day."

The patient, who wasn't named Friday, has been released from the hospital. His colleagues say he's on his way to a full recovery.

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