Sheriff’s Office recognizes life saving actions in Little Canada and Vadnais Heights

Nita Ortiz, center, with Pam Madlind and Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom after she received a Sheriff’s Award for Excellence for performing the Heimlich maneuver on Madlind after she choked on an omelet at Ortiz’ restaurant. (Danielle Korby/Review)
Nita Ortiz, center, with Pam Madlind and Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom after she received a Sheriff’s Award for Excellence for performing the Heimlich maneuver on Madlind after she choked on an omelet at Ortiz’ restaurant. (Danielle Korby/Review)
Patrick Haider, center, with Vadnais Heights Fire Chief Ed Leier and Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom after he received a Sheriff’s Award for Excellence for pulling a boy from a burning house while he was out on his postal route. (Danielle Korby/Review)
Patrick Haider, center, with Vadnais Heights Fire Chief Ed Leier and Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom after he received a Sheriff’s Award for Excellence for pulling a boy from a burning house while he was out on his postal route. (Danielle Korby/Review)

Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom says not everyone jumps into action to try to save a life in emergency situations. But for three area residents and two deputies, this is exactly what they did.

Bostrom presented three Sheriff's Awards for Excellence June 15 to a restaurant owner, a postal worker and a retired state trooper, along with Life Saving Awards to two deputies.

Ramsey County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Randy Gustafson said the organization gives many awards to its staff for exceptional service. But the Sheriff's Awards for Excellence and the Life Saving Awards recognize community and staff members who go above and beyond what is expected of them to aid the Sheriff's Office and try to save lives.

A love for customers

Nita Ortiz, owner of Dauber's Cafe in Little Canada, received her Award for Excellence for quick thinking during business hours.

Ortiz performed the Heimlich maneuver Feb. 21 on Pam Madlind, a frequent customer of Dauber's Cafe who said she had choked on an omelet.

"She didn’t hesitate — she just did [the maneuver]," Madlind said as she expressed her gratitude toward Ortiz.

Ortiz said she loves all of her customers and didn’t think twice when she heard one of them yell for help.

"She's one of my best customers — love her to death," Ortiz said of Madlind.

Ortiz said she used to work at the front desk of a clinic and was told about many medical procedures by the nurses who worked there, including how to perform the Heimlich maneuver. She said she was fortunate to have remembered what they told her.

"When I see an emergency — I want to do something — I would not stay and let somebody die," Ortiz said.

Madlind's mother Nat Atchinson was also at the awards ceremony and thanked Ortiz for saving her daughter's life.

"She's our guardian angel," Atchinson said of Ortiz.

Rain, sleet, snow or house fires

Pat Haider received his Award for Excellence because he saved a boy from a Vadnais Heights house fire in May and then casually returned to work.

Haider is a postal worker and was delivering mail when he noticed the fire.

Haider said he told an adult in the house's garage that the house was on fire. He then ran inside the house, grabbed a child who was inside, and brought him to safety.

Vadnais Heights Fire Chief Ed Leier attended the awards ceremony and said another adult who didn't know the house was on fire got outside just in time after Haider rescued the boy. A glass door shattered shortly after Haider and the residents left the house, which would have blocked their escape routes, he said.

"If Pat wouldn’t have taken the actions he did, we might be talking about a different story," Leier said. "People could have been seriously hurt."

Haider said he was a volunteer firefighter for three years. His uncle and grandfather were also firefighters, and Leier said he had worked with Haider's grandfather.

But Haider said he had never saved anyone from a fire while he was a volunteer. He credited natural instinct with his decision to grab the boy from the house.

And once the residents were outside the house and firefighters had shown up, Leier said Haider immediately returned to his mail route.

"It's true about the mail carriers: No matter if it’s sleet, rain or snow, they go about their route," Leier said. "As soon as [Haider] saved this person’s life, he went back and did his mail route."

Reaching help fast

James Elmer received the third Sheriff's Award of Excellence, which recognized the action he took to potentially save the life of a Ramsey County deputy who passed out in Elmer's driveway in June 2014

Deputy Matt Lassegard had stopped by Elmer's house in White Bear Township to ask about a dispute between two of Elmer’s neighbors.

Lassegard asked Elmer several questions and had started to walk back toward his car when his speech became incomprehensible and he looked up at the sky, Elmer said.

As Lassegard started to fall, Elmer caught him, lowered him to the ground and made sure his breathing airways were open. He stayed conscious but went into convulsions, Elmer said.

Elmer said he told his wife to call 911, but she said she couldn't get through to anyone.

Elmer is a retired state trooper, so he said he knew what to do to get the fastest help possible. He grabbed Lassegard's radio and said: "Ramsey County, do you copy?"

Lassegard survived the collapse and talked to Elmer at the awards ceremony.

"I had no idea how he was doing or what his turnout was until I saw him walk in and I talked to him a bit Monday," Elmer said of Lassegard. "It was kinda neat to see him up and walking becaue he did not look too good the last I saw him."

A rare survival

The Sheriff's Office Life Saving Awards were given to two Ramsey County deputies who performed CPR on a man who went into full cardiac arrest in February.

Deputies Mike Servatka and Don Rindal responded to a medical call for the man in cardiac arrest and performed CPR until the emergency medical technicians showed up.

Sherriff Bostrom said the EMTs worked on the man for an hour and 40 minutes and applied 12 electric shocks to the man, who survived.

Spokesperson Gustafson said he was happy to see the deputies awarded for their work.

"It's fun to see the result of these guys' training and have people survive as a result," Gustafson said.

Danielle Korby can be reached at staffwriter@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7824. Follow her on twitter @daniellejean701.

 

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