First responders earn praise for CPR rescue

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Emergency responders received the Gullion family’s thanks and commendations from the Dorchester County Council during the board’s meeting June 4, for saving the life of Bill Gullion. From the left are EMT Jason Lobley, Dr. Steven White, Director of Emergency Services Evdokia Rahilly, Paramedic Ben Shannon, Deputy Elizabeth Stacey, Secretary VFC Chief Brian Kimmey, Hurlock VFC Chief Jason Trego, Firefighter B.J. Gullion, Cindy Gullion, Jessica Gullion, EMT Bob Layfield, County Council members Ricky Travers (District 3) and Jay Newcomb (District 1), Bill Gullion and council member Lenny Pfeffer (District 4).

CAMBRIDGE — Training, cooperation and the goodwill of neighbors came together one day last year to save the life of Bill Gullion.

Dec. 1, 2018, was a day “my family won’t soon forget,” Jessica Gullion said June 4, speaking to the members of the Dorchester County Council, who presented commendations to the several emergency responders to took part in rescuing Mr. Gullion.

“Whereas it requires a prepared community, as well as many individuals as part of a team, to save just one life, this victim of cardiac arrest was able to be resuscitated,” Council Member Lenny Pfeffer (District 4) said, while reading the commendation.

Mr. Gullion’s daughter Jessica said her father had been diagnosed with bronchitis the day before the incident, and had been complaining of chest pains. “As an emergency service provider for 22 years, I just chalked it up to his illness,” she said, “because his symptoms fit.”

But when he was sleeping in a chair and making unusual noises, Jessica and her mother Cindy checked Mr. Gullion. Jessica found that he had no pulse and had nearly stopped breathing.

“Mom dialed 911 while I immediately started CPR,” Jessica said. “I don’t remember every single person who showed up that day, but I remember the feeling that I may not have my father for Christmas. If not for the response of everyone, I know I would be speaking differently. I don’t think any words or actions could explain how grateful my family and I are for your help and compassion.”

Mr. Gullion’s cardiologist later determined that a piece of plaque had broken away from a blood vessel and blocked blood from reaching his heart, causing a sudden cardiac arrest. “CPR is what saved him that day,” Jessica said. She noted that victims of cardiac arrest who receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation have a greatly increased rate of survival.

Mr. Gullion spoke to those who helped him, saying, “I’m not much on words, but ‘Thank you’ is never enough…I appreciate everything you have done for me and my family. Thank you so much.”

Dr. Steven White works with the county’s Department of Emergency Services. He said incidents like this are not rare, but in fact are often faced by the area’s first responders. “I want to congratulate you all for what you do every day,” Dr. White said.

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