BANGOR, Maine — Retired Army Col. Tim Hackett was trained in CPR years ago but never had to use the skill until recently, when he saved the life of a pal from Bangor.
He and Brewer fire Capt. Robbie Wildes and firefighter-EMT Kevin Pelotte were honored Tuesday for their service at the Brewer City Council meeting.
Hackett, his wife, Pam, and Bob Emerson and his girlfriend, Marion, are all members of a dance group called “The Saturday Nighters,” who were kicking up their heels at Jeff’s Catering on March 10 when Emerson “was having a hard time catching his breath,” the retired colonel said.
“He sat down and stopped breathing and started to turn blue,” Hackett said after leaving the meeting. “I laid him down on the floor. Pam called 911 and I just started doing chest compressions.”
Minutes later, which “seemed like forever” to Hacket, Wildes and Pelotte arrived and shocked Emerson with an automated external defibrillator that restored his pulse. He was stabilized and then taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center.
During the recognition ceremony, tears fell from Emerson’s eyes.
“It’s wonderful to see him today,” said Hackett, who served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves for 28 years.
All five City Council members, including Arthur “Archie” Verow, who was at the dinner dance, thanked the trio and presented each with a plaque of recognition for their efforts.
“This is great stuff,” Councilor Joseph Ferris said. “Thanks to all those involved. I’m very, very impressed.”
“We should all be trained in CPR because it really does work,” Councilor Kevin O’Connell added.
Also honored on Tuesday were Nathalie “Nat” Perry, who is retiring after 31 years working for the city, local Boy Scout Michael Viens, who earned the rank of Eagle Scout, and volunteers and local businesses for their contributions to the annual stream cleanup.
“You’re awesome,” O’Connell said to Perry.
“She’s done a great job,” Ferris added. “She’s really going to be missed.”
During the meeting, city councilors also passed the $33.1 million school and municipal budget even though Councilor Larry Doughty voted in opposition.
“I’m not happy we’re having a tax increase,” said the longtime councilor. “This tax increase, a lot of it is going to municipal employee raises and school employee raises.”
Doughty also said, “people are going to have a tough time paying their taxes” and he didn’t like the idea of “giving pay raises in these tough times.”
Before the 4-1 vote, Verow said he was disappointed another option wasn’t available, O’Connell said he fully supported the budget, and both Ferris and Goss said they didn’t like raising taxes but felt employees deserved a raise.
“They stood their ground for three years” without a pay increase, the mayor said.
Goss also said, “This budget is what it is because of the reduction of our income, particularly from the State of Maine.”
Brewer has held or lowered its property tax rate for the past 10 years, with this year’s rate set at $17.95 per $1,000 in property value. Under the fiscal year 2013 budget, the tax rate is increasing to $18.99.