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Beach fire fighters receive commendations

November 28, 2012
By BOB PETCHER ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

A life-saving measure by two neighboring fire districts received a Presentation of Commendation ceremony during the Fort Myers Beach Board of Fire Commissioners meeting at Town Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Two Beach fire fighters and four Iona-McGregor fire fighters, who responded to a distress call at Shell Point Retirement Community in separate fire service vehicles and aided in saving the life of a resident there, received medals by the Beach Fire District for their acts.

The incident occurred on June 8, where 75-year-old Walter McCollum was complaining about chest pain. Beach Fire District Capt. Randy Kraus explained "the groups were assessing the patient and gathering information" when "everything changed in an instant." That's when McCollum suddenly went into cardiac arrest and the quick actions of the service personnel (CPR was initiated, life-saving medications were administered and the patient was manually defibrillated) saved his life.

Article Photos

Two Beach fire fighters and four Iona-McGregor fire fighters received medals of commendation for their life-saving measures at a recent incident involving Shell Point resident Walter McCollum, picture with his wife in front. The commended fire fighters were (l to r) Beach FF/Paramedic Andres Vila, Beach FF/EMT Willie Edge, Iona FF/EMT Drew Herron, Iona FF/EMT Peter Marrero, Iona Lt. Paramedic Cheryl Bauchert and Lt. Paramedic Joel Guzman.

"These quick and decisive actions of both crews on scene culminated the successful resuscitation of Mr. Walter McCollum," said Kraus, the Beach Fire District medical officer. "Mr. and Mrs. McCollum were gracious to these fire fighters who made a difference in their lives. Since the inception of automatic aid, these organizations have been able to make a difference in many people's lives and not only the lives of those who live and visit our fire district."

McCollum is a retired air traffic controller supervisor/manager who knows about life-saving procedures.

"I know how fast emergencies can happen and those who have to deal with emergencies and sometimes decisions and matters in seconds and fractions of seconds. They have to have good training and foundation in their profession," he said. "When the chips are down, they rely on that training. The better the training, the better the outcome will be. I know because I am the recipient of that great training. If it wasn't for the quick and professional response, I wouldn't be here tonight."



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