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Bedford Twp. trustee given award for his use of CPR

TEMPERANCE — Bedford Township Trustee TC Clements accepted an award with mixed emotions Thursday for his attempts to resuscitate a woman who collapsed at the Bedford Senior Center in January.

Joanne Finley, 77, suffered a heart attack while working in the kitchen Jan. 10. She died about a week later, but family and friends might never have had the opportunity to say good-bye if not for Mr. Clements’ quick thinking and swift actions.

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TC Clements, left, speaks about the importance of knowing CPR with Karl Rock, paramedic supervisor for Monroe Community Ambulance.

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“I heard a commotion taking place in the kitchen, ran in, and the woman had fallen to the ground and was not responsive,” Mr. Clements said. “She wasn’t breathing, had no pulse. So I just began CPR and directing staff on what to do.”

Mr. Clements was elected in November, and visited the senior center during the campaign. He promised to visit for lunch at least once or twice a month if elected.

He was presented with a Heart Safe Award from the Monroe Community Ambulance for his efforts during one of those appearances. MCA also recognized Bedford Heart Heroes, which raises funds to donate defibrillators, including the one at the senior center used on Ms. Finley.

“We want to stress the importance of people learning to do CPR, and the importance of defibrillators in our community,” said Roxann Satkowski, BHH chair. “We’re all working together to make Bedford a heart-safe community.”

BHH started in 2010 after a Bedford High School football player collapsed and was resuscitated during practice. The organization has put defibrillators in sheriff’s vehicles, schools, and athletic departments with the help of the Bedford Lions Club.

About 50 seniors and community members gathered at the senior center Thursday for the ceremony and lunch.

Ms. Finley was described as a quiet person, but always had a smile on her face.

“She helped prepare the food and packaged it for the home delivery meals program,” said Dianne Carroll, executive director of the senior center. “Whatever needed to be done back there, she did it.

“She never had a bad word to say. Just a very kind and pleasant person. Everybody loved her; she got along with everyone.”

Mr. Clements agreed to be recognized on the condition he could bring awareness to the importance of receiving CPR training. He performed CPR multiple times as a member of law enforcement.

“Whether you’re casually having lunch with someone, or you’re out by the pool and it’s your own child who has a medical problem, you never know when that moment is going to come up,” Mr. Clements said. “Think about how different it feels when you can actually engage in help, as opposed to standing by helpless. It’s nice to have that confidence to know you can step in and help a friend or stranger.”

Mr. Clements and Ms. Satkowski recommend those interested in training check with their local American Red Cross for class information.

Contact Jay Skebba at: jskebba@theblade.com, 419-376-9414, or on Twitter @JaySkebbaBlade.

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