Gilberts, Elgin officers recognized for saving lives
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Eight Fox Valley area police officers are being commended for their efforts in helping save people's lives.
The officers are Elgin Police Department Sgt. Katy Potts and Officers Mark Root, Jon Rustay, Ryan Nelis, Bill Wood and Kevin Snow, along with Gilberts Police Department Officers Eric Meador and Robert Wittenauer.
The Elgin officers were presented lifesaving awards at a city council meeting earlier this month. The Gilberts officers will get their awards at Tuesday's village board meeting.
Snow and Rustay helped save the life of a tree service worker who was electrocuted and fell to the ground June 24.
The man was unconscious, not breathing and without a pulse, so the officers performed CPR until the fire department arrived and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to revive him, Rustay said.
"It's one of those moments, and it's kind of cliché, where you say, 'My training took over.' And it's so true, you don't have time to really think," Rustay said.
"When you become a police officers you say, 'I want to do it to help people.' It's a good feeling to know that you helped somebody."
Potts, Root, Nelis, and Wood brought to safety a suicidal man Aug. 31.
When officers arrived, the man was straddling a retaining wall on the fifth floor of a public parking garage downtown. Potts talked to the man, keeping his attention on her, while others came upon him and dragged him to safety.
Again, it was all about training, Potts said.
"I don't even remember what I said," she said. "I was just calling him by name, talking to him, asking if he wanted to talk to us."
"The plan came together," she added. "All we needed was the training and just having compassion for people."
In the Gilberts, Meador and Wittenauer assisted a person who was choking Sept. 23. The person was unconscious and not breathing, so the officers performed CPR and used an AED device before paramedics arrived.
Rutland Dundee Fire Protection District officials said the victim probably would have not survived without the officers' help, Gilberts Police Chief Steve Williams said.
"They absolutely did the right thing at absolutely the right time," Williams said.
"Their response was absolutely spot on. They didn't hesitate to consider performing mouth to mouth, they didn't hesitate performing CPR."
People should get trained in CPR whenever possible, Elgin's Rustay said. "It could happen at a moment's notice, and an AED isn't always available."
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