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54-year-old postal worker celebrates "first" birthday by honoring heroes | Community Spirit

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54-year-old postal worker celebrates "first" birthday by honoring heroes
54-year-old postal worker celebrates "first" birthday by honoring heroes

KALAMAZOO, Mich.- When Russell Hyder celebrated his first birthday on Oct. 1, 1959, no doubt he wasn’t aware of who attended the party. But this time around, on Hyder’s new “first” birthday, he recognized everyone at the party for their role in saving his life.

At 8:31 a.m. on Jan. 3, 2013, Hyder, a United States Post Office employee who lives in Kalamazoo, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, the leading cause of death among adults over the age of 40 in the United States. Without immediate CPR and treatment, nine of 10 SCA victims die. Fortunately for Hyder, he lives in Kalamazoo County, which has a 40 percent rate of SCA survival – among the highest rates in the nation thanks to quick response times and well-trained chain-of-life caregivers.

 To celebrate his life and honor those who have saved many other lives, Hyder invited about 50 “chain-of-life” caregivers to a ceremony honoring their life-saving work. Those attending included paramedics from Life EMS Ambulance, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety dispatchers and workers, Western Michigan University’s Medical Support Unit 1 staff, Bronson Methodist Hospital staff and Bronson Advanced Cardiac Healthcare cardiologists.

Hyder, a military veteran, honored the caregivers with a challenge coin. Traditionally a challenge coin is issued by a military branch of government to in recognition of special achievement by a member of a military unit.

About Life EMS Ambulance:

Founded in 1980, Life EMS Ambulance has consistently reduced response time while providing compassionate emergency care. Life EMS Ambulance was the first ambulance service in West Michigan, and among the first in the country to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services, the gold standard in the EMS industry. Life EMS Ambulance responds to medical emergencies throughout 3,600 square miles of West Michigan, including Grand Rapids/Kent, Portage/Kalamazoo, Ottawa, Ionia, Newaygo, Lake, Mason, Allegan and Van Buren counties. The company has also earned consecutive distinctions as “West Michigan’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” since YEAR. Additional information can be found at. www.lifeems.com.