Four firefighters with the Columbia Fire Department and one citizen were recognized for the life-saving help they provided an area track and field coach nearly one year ago.
“It’s truly a blessing,” 34-year-old Lawrence Terry said after attending the event to support the responders and neighbor who rescued him.
On the evening of May 2, 2018 Terry had just finished cutting the grass at his Richland County home when he suddenly collapsed and lost consciousness. His wife and son were both home at the time.
“She went inside…my son came out and saw me on the ground,” Terry recalled.
Luckily at that moment his neighbor Patrick Roche Jr. was nearby. Roche immediately began performing CPR compressions on Terry while firefighters were on their way to the scene.
“I thought he had just passed out from cutting the grass,” Roche said, “it’s only when I ran over and rolled him over that I saw how bad the situation was.”
Within minutes CFD’s Engine 14 crew arrived. Firefighters continued CPR and also began to use an automatic external defibrillator on Terry. He was then taken from the scene by EMS to an area hospital where he remained in a coma for days.
Terry also faced four months of cardiac rehab. He has since made a full recovery from the incident.
On the afternoon of Friday May 3, 2019, Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins presented Roche with a certificate of recognition as well as an honorary membership coin from the department.
The CFD firefighters who aided Terry were Fire Captain Thomas Niles, Engineer Brian Sumpter, Senior Firefighter Russell Burgess and Senior Firefighter Alexander T. Reese. All four men were also recognized during the event.
“I applaud Mr. Roche and our firefighters for their acts of heroism,” said Fire Chief Jenkins, “Mr. Roche’s actions clearly show the importance of knowing what to do during a medical emergency. I hope that our citizens can learn from this case and take steps to acquire skills in CPR. There’s no doubt that those skills made a real difference here.”
Terry, who first stopped by Station 14 back in March to thank the firefighters who helped him, was also in attendance for the event along with members of his family.
Certificates of Recognition are awarded by the department to citizens who exhibit courage and commit selfless acts to provide aid to others.
For more information on CPR training and how to find courses in your area contact the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS or go to www.redcross.org.