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Firefighters receive life-saving awards

Profile image for By Megan Gray / Staff Writer
By Megan Gray / Staff Writer

THE COLONY — “This isn’t good.” Those three words were the last thing Jackie Harris’ husband, Mike, heard her say before she collapsed over breakfast on Aug. 5, 2012.

“I caught my wife before she hit the kitchen floor and dialed 911,” Mike Harris said as he retold the story of how The Colony Fire Department helped save his wife. “She went into complete cardiac arrest.”

“They responded to her heart attack and enacted life-saving measures,” Mike Harris said.

The crew members were among those honored during the department’s annual awards banquet at the Cascades Event Center in The Colony Saturday night.

Battalion 471 Chief Kenny Adamcik, Quint 471 Capt. Jason Bonds, driver/engineer Shane Dowell, firefighter/paramedic Perry Lane and Medic 471 firefighter/paramedic Jeremy Qualls all received cheers and gratitude from friends, family and colleagues during the event.

Jackie Harris said she is honored not only to have been invited to the awards ceremony but to be able to stand alongside the men who helped save her life.

“I fully believe if it wasn’t for these men, and God’s mercy, of course, I wouldn’t be here today celebrating my 62nd birthday, the birth of my first grandchild this past week or our 38th wedding anniversary,” said Jackie Harris, her voice filled with emotion. “I am very blessed.”

Jackie was administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation for 45 minutes and had 60 heart defibrillations administered.

“They [the medical doctors at the emergency room] didn’t think I was coming back,” said Jackie.

After a week’s stay in the hospital, she left with just two stents.

“I had a 70 percent block on one side and 100 percent on the other,” Jackie said.

While she didn’t have any diagnosis of heart disease before, Jackie said, she had always tried to take care of herself and was cautious, since both sides of her family are linked with the disease.

“The doctors said I experienced blockage known as the ‘widow-maker,’ something that’s not easy to come out of, if you come out at all.”

With all the heartache her family suffered, she is glad she is where she is today.

“I took a stress test, got the OK, and my husband and I went on our regularly planned trip to Disney World ... I ride all the rides.”

As soon as she was able, she went to the Central Station on Blair Oakes to thank the men for a job well done.

“I owe them more than I can give,” said Jackie.

Life-saving awards were also presented to Battalion 471 Capt. Brent Young, Truck 473 Capt. Jeff Bell, firefighter/paramedic Shane Ball, firefighter/paramedic Jeff Jeffcoat, Medic 473 firefighter/paramedic Steven Grahl and firefighter/paramedic Chad Argenbright for saving an unconscious 84-year-old resident last July.

He had no vital signs and was unresponsive when firefighters arrived. After medication and two defibrillations, the patient had a pulse again.

Firefighter of the year went to Cliff Brooks for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Fire Chief Scott Thompson said the evening really honors those who are deserving.

“When you see a firefighter from The Colony with an award, you know they have really done something worthwhile,” Thompson said.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is .