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It started like any other day at the City of Minot landfill. It ended in dramatic fashion.
Early this summer, the landfill crew consisting of Dwayne Akin, Robbie Boucher, Travis Bullard-Wolf, Lorne Hammer, and Krystle Foster was preparing to wrap up another day. With quitting time fast approaching, the final customer of the day was driving out of the landfill gate.
Then the vehicle swerved into the ditch. It swerved again. Then it stopped.
“Lorne was kind of wondering what was going on, so he followed him and when he got up there, the driver was slumped over in the vehicle. So he called us, and told us to call an ambulance,” Boucher said.
Akin, Boucher, Bullard-Wolf, and Foster called 911, grabbed an automated external defibrillator from the landfill’s shop, and rushed to the vehicle in the ditch.
“We had been getting getting ready to leave, but we grabbed the defibrillator and went to the vehicle,” Boucher said. “As soon as we got up there, we pulled him out of the truck and I took his pulse and started CPR while they got the AED ready.”
While Boucher administered CPR to the driver, the others prepped the AED, eventually using it three times to deliver an electric shock to the driver’s heart. Soon, an ambulance arrived on scene and paramedics took over treatment.
All five crew members are certified in CPR, and three of them have additional medical training from their time in the military.
“You just do what you have to do,” Hammer said. “You just do it.”
The man survived. After recovery, he brought his wife and a son with him to the landfill to thank the crew for their heroic efforts.
Darren Zuck and Brittany Thurston, two members of the City’s Employee Recognition Committee, recently thanked the crew for their life-saving actions, and presented each of them with a certificate of appreciation.
“We talked about this at our last meeting. Our Police Department and our Fire Department deal with these incidents all the time, but this is completely out of your normal day-to-day routines,” said Brittany Thurston, a member of the committee. “But you noticed something was wrong, you were aware of what to do, and you helped somebody in need.”
“I hope that knowing someone is alive today because of you feels great, but we want all of your peers to know what you’ve done because it’s amazing,” Thurston added. “Thank you for everything you do for the residents of your community.”