Delta responders recognized for saving a life

DELTA — A pair of Delta Police Department officers and an employee of a Delta car dealership were honored Friday morning for saving the life of a Delta man last month.

Officers Greg Birely and Sgt. Jose Chavira were presented awards along with Donna Tessier for responding to a Jan. 25 medical emergency involving Frank Gilmore, a 25-year employee of NAPA Auto Parts.

Gilmore had been complaining of pain throughout the day Jan. 25 before calling his wife for a ride to the hospital.

Minutes later, he collapsed in the NAPA parking lot while waiting for her to arrive. He was having a heart attack.

Across the street, Donna Tessier, parts manager of Hellman Chevrolet, was told Gilmore had collapsed and was lying unconscious.

Tessier, a commander for Delta County Search and Rescue, said she immediately ran to Gilmore’s aid and began emergency CPR, a procedure she has performed many times.

“He was in cardiac arrest,” Tessier said.

Officers Birely and Chavira arrived with a defibrillator or AED, aiming to jump-start Gilmore’s heart before paramedics Christopher Brown and Dustin Muth of the Delta County Ambulance District arrived.

“I used it on him twice to restart his heart,” Tessier said.

Minutes later, Gilmore was loaded into an ambulance with the paramedics and Tessier, and Birely drove the ambulance to Delta County Hospital’s emergency room, where Gilmore was stabilized before a trip to Grand Junction. “I don’t remember a thing until I woke up in the hospital in Grand Junction,” Gilmore said.

During the ceremony Friday, Brown acknowledged that carrying a defibrillator could mean life or death for a patient experiencing cardiac arrest.

Tessier accepted her award humbly from Gilmore, who leaned in to say a soft thank you, and the two shared a warm smile.


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