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Lincoln – On March 20, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Emergency Health Systems Program Director Tim Wilson joined Ord, Nebraska Mayor Jeramy Sedlacek, and cardiac arrest survivor Daryl Fletcher to donate an automated external defibrillator to Loup Valley Fitness.
Through the generosity of a multi-million-dollar grant awarded to the Department of Health and Human Services from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) were placed in law enforcement vehicles across the state.
On August 10, 2022, one of those AEDs was used by Officer Paul Deavers resulting in the successful resuscitation of Ord resident Daryl Fletcher. As part of that grant, the Stryker Cooperation launched the Hearts on Duty Program which allows state coordinators to submit four success stories a year that are eligible to receive an AED provided at no cost to the survivor or law enforcement officer to donate to a location of their choosing in their community to further protect residents from sudden cardiac arrest.
Daryl Fletcher, an Ord resident of six years elected to donate an AED to the Loup Valley Fitness Center, a staple of the Ord community, and facility used by residents of all ages. In recalling his story to DHHS, Daryl mentioned that he always thought it would be fun to fly in a helicopter and the one time he was able to, he was in no condition to remember it. DHHS grant coordinators worked with Tri-City LifeNet managers to get Daryl a ride he could remember.
“This is a remarkable survivor story," said TriCity LifeNet Kearney Flight Nurse and Base Outreach Coordinator Luke Ballmer. “We don't always get to know the outcome of a patient since our service is centered around pre-hospital care or interfacility transport. It's really amazing not only to reunite with Daryl but with the EMS teams who responded that day. Saving a life is a team effort, and we are grateful to have been a part of Daryl's story."
During the presentation of the AED, residents heard from DHHS Office of Emergency Health Systems Program Director Tim Wilson, Ord Mayor Jeramy Sedlacek, Ord Police Chief Jay Welch, former Ord Police Officer, now Sheriff Paul Devers, Loup Valley Fitness owner Matt Woodward, and Daryl Fletcher about the events that unfolded August 10th and the impact the AED would have on the Ord community.
“Helping People live better lives is at the center of what we do every day at DHHS, so it is an honor to meet a Nebraskan whose life was saved by an AED provided by our grant. I want to thank the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Tri-City LifeNet Kearney, Officer Devers, Daryl's hospital team, and everyone involved in his continuum of care for each of their roles in this outstanding outcome. Every moment of CPR an individual receives is crucial and Daryl is a testament to that lifesaving power," said Becka Nuemiller, DHHS Stroke/STEMI Program Manager.
Fletcher's hospital staff, wife, daughter, grandchildren, and coworkers who performed lifesaving bystander CPR were also in attendance.
Click the link here to see more from the event.