The City of Milan held an emotion awards ceremony at its April 2, 2024, city council meeting. Captain Kevin Maury of the Milan Area Fire Department outlined the extraordinary circumstances that elicited the awards.

On February 9, during a seemingly ordinary day at Milan Middle School, a critical incident unfolded that tested the preparedness and swift action of school staff and emergency responders.

At 10:20 a.m., during a gym class, a 12-year-old student experienced sudden cardiac arrest while playing basketball. This medical emergency prompted an immediate response from the Milan Area Fire Department, local police, and Huron Valley Ambulance services in a coordinated effort of life-saving procedures.

Maury highlighted the severity of sudden cardiac arrest, a condition where the heart suddenly stops beating, affecting individuals of all ages without warning. “Sudden cardiac arrest leads to death within minutes if the person does not get help right away,” said Maury. “Survival depends on people nearby calling 911, starting CPR, and using an Automated External Defibrillator as soon as possible.”

Sudden cardiac arrest is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., with approximately 350,000 people of all ages experiencing it annually and a survival rate of only about 10% for out-of-hospital incidents.

Capt. Maury brought to light the “Chain of Survival,” a series of actions that, when executed swiftly, can significantly increase the chances of survival following a cardiac arrest. These actions include recognizing the event and calling 911, starting CPR, utilizing an AED, ensuring prompt EMS response, providing hospital care, and supporting recovery. “Bystanders can help save lives by addressing the first three links in this chain of survival,” he explained.

“Tonight, we’re here to recognize everyone involved in the chain of survival,” said Maury. “Although everyone being recognized played a major part in the positive outcome, we are primarily here to recognize the Milan Middle School staff.”

Maury called forward gym teacher Vicki Etter and school nurse Dawn Hynds, who immediately began life-saving efforts, including CPR and utilizing an AED to restart the student’s heart.

“Tonight, we gather to honor these exceptional individuals whose quick-thinking preparedness and unwavering commitment to safety saved a precious life within the halls of our local school,” praised Maury. “It is with great pride and gratitude that we recognize the remarkable efforts and the response to a child in cardiac arrest in moments of crisis. Having the right tools and training can make all the difference.”

“When faced with the unimaginable, they did not falter,” continued Maury. “Instead, they acted swiftly and decisively…But their heroism extends beyond the initial response. They remained calm under pressure, providing comfort and support to family members.”

Milan Fire Chief Robert Stevens presented the following twenty-one individuals in the Chain of Survival with Life Saving Awards:

From the Milan Middle School:

  • Gym Teacher Vicki Etter
  • Nurse Dawn Hynds
  • Student Daniel Quick
  • Student Matthew Notebart
  • Student Brandon Bibbins

From Washtenaw County Metro Dispatch:

  • Communications Training Officer Lynn Thayer
  • Recruit Communications Operator Tom Redlin
  • Communications Operator Vanessa Vock

From the Huron Valley Ambulance Dispatch Center:

  • Dispatcher (Call Taker) Sophia Dangerfield
  • System Controller (Fire Dispatcher) Erik Youngblood
  • Communications Training Officer (Ambulance Dispatcher) Stacie Howard

From the Milan Police Department:

  • Sergeant Eric McLaughlin
  • School Resource Officer Brandon Marshall
  • Officer Cody Straits
  • Officer Brian Rex

From the Milan Area Fire Department:

  • Lieutenant Kevin Maury
  • Firefighter Samantha Hill
  • Firefighter Greg Brierley

From Huron Valley Ambulance:

  • Paramedic Supervisor David Butler
  • Paramedic Kyle Rickelmann
  • Advanced Emergency Medical Technician Stephanie Fischer

The ceremony not only celebrated the two initial heroes of that day but Capt. Maury also used the moment to commend the administration for having the proper equipment. He recognized all those in the Chain of Survival for their preparedness and training in saving lives and announced the student was back home with no permanent cardiac damage.

Photo: City of Milan Facebook

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