“Thanks for saving my life.” Those words were directed at Gaylord Police Officer Jeffrey Milette at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. Milette received a Certificate of Heroism from the Sudden Death Cardiac Arrest (SCAA) Association.Officer Milette was credited for his quick response in the rescue of Ellard Winter who suffered sudden cardiac arrest while working at Gaylord’s Wolf Motors in November, 2008. Winter, 58, is from Arlington.
Nationwide, only 5-7% of the 360,000 people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest each year survive, according to Steve Johnston, Director of the SCAA. He called sudden cardiac arrest a “major public safety threat.” Johnston explained that Milette’s prompt response and use of the Police Department’s Automated Electronic Defibrillator (AED) kept Winter from the grim side of those statistics.
Winter and several members of his family were present Wednesday when Milette received his award from the SCAA. Winter was part of the presentation and he thanked Milette for saving his life.
Johnston came from Washington, DC to present Milette a Certificate of Heroism as well as a SCAA Hero ribbon for his uniform.
“[Milette] saved the life of Ellard Winter,” Johnston said. “His heroic actions and prompt response set a fine example that can hopefully be followed by other officers.”
Officer Milette recalled the afternoon in which he helped in the rescue of Winter. He was on duty for the City and was at the Sibley County Sheriff’s Department when he received the call. Milette said the Department’s AED machine is always carried in the squad car.
Milette was nominated for the award in April by his Chief Dale Roiger. According to Johnston, the citizens of Gaylord should be proud of Officer Milette. Also, the community can be proud that the Gaylord Police Department recognizes its important role in saving lives that would otherwise be lost without prompt defibrillation, Johnston explained.
Milette said he has previously used the AED while working in Arlington. He was recently retrained on the AED during a First Responder refresher in February.
The Gaylord Police Department is well equipped and properly trained to help in cardiac emergencies, according to Johnston. Very often it is the police officers who are in the best position to be able to respond faster than other emergency medical services.
“The City can be proud to have such a fine gentleman like Jeff,” Gaylord Mayor Doug Quast said. “And, it was nice to see those people come from quite a distance to recognize his efforts.”
“The training our police, ambulance and fire department personnel go through is something I think a lot of us take for granted,” Quast added. “This is a proven case that the training is very valuable and saves lives.”
Milette has served as a part-time officer for the City of Gaylord for nine years, and the City of Arlington for six years. He has also served as a jailer/dispatcher for the Sibley County Sheriff’s Department for the past decade.