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Teens come to rescue of Madras man

Jesse Flores and Robert Garey are honored for saving the life of a 74-year-old man
General Editor
   Jan. 30, 2002 -- Two teenage boys who noticed something strange and stopped to check it out are credited with saving the life of 74-year-old Clifford Ward of Madras.
   About 2:30 p.m., Jan. 10, Madras High juniors Jesse Flores and Robert Garey were driving down Ninth Street on their way to work experience jobs, when they saw Ward.
   "I was driving and looked over and saw him laying on the ground. I stopped and shouted and he didn't respond, so I got out and jerked on his sleeve, but he didn't respond. Then I noticed his face and ears were blue," Robert related.
   Realizing this was an emergency, the boys quickly drove a half block back to Jesse's and he jumped out to call 911, while Robert returned to try to awaken Mr. Ward.
   "I told 911 there was an emergency and a man was lying in front of his house, but I didn't know the address, so I went outside and yelled at Robert," Jesse said. From down the street Robert yelled the address back and help was on the way.
   "A guy in a red truck (fireman Bob Sjolund) got there first, then everybody else came and there were bags everywhere and people running around," Jesse said.
   Ward's wife, Roylene, was home and wondered what all the commotion was about. Her husband had fallen in front of their solid wood fence, which prevented her from seeing him.
   "I thought he was out in the yard and the boys were talking to him," she said, noting when Sojlund's truck pulled up, she realized something was wrong.
   The fireman wasn't having much luck at reviving Ward and time was crucial, so when ambulance paramedic James Johnson arrived he cut Ward's shirt off to use equipment to test his heart.
   "I told Jesse to hold the fence open and hold bags of IV fluid until more firefighters began arriving," Johnson said.
   Ward's heart rate was pretty good, so Johnson thought there must be something wrong with his lungs and tried to ventilate him, but his lungs were too tight to breathe.
   Loading Mr. Ward into the ambulance, they rushed him to Mountain View Hospital, where doctors were able to give him medicine to loosen up his lungs. It turned out he had a history of asthma problems, and a severe asthma attack had caused him to pass out.
   Meanwhile, the teens, who had stayed at the scene, were asked for one last favor. "After everybody left a firefighter asked if we could take his wife to the hospital," Robert related.
   Following a two-night stay in the hospital, Ward returned home and feels fine now. Explaining his recollection of what happened, Ward said he had just gotten his water bill and went out to check the meter. Bending down to look at the meter he began to feel dizzy and started back to the house.
   "The next thing I remember, I was in the emergency room," he said.
   In all the excitement, nobody recorded the boys' names and it took a while to track them down when the Wards wanted to thank them.
   When they met Jan. 25, Mrs. Ward greeted the pair with a big hug and tears in her eyes and Mr. Ward shook their hands. Johnson was also on hand to present them each with a life saving award from Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services.
   "If it wasn't for those two coming by when they did that gentleman would have died from respiratory arrest. They saved his life and are true heros," Johnson said.