Tag Archives: Westport EMT

Russ And Isabel Blair: No Stone Unturned

In 1954 a young couple bought a new home in Westport, near what is now Fresh Market. On April 16, they engraved their names on a stone.

Russ and Isabel Blair are still here. They’ve done a lot in their 6-plus decades in town, from EMS to local boards and commissions. She was a beloved Coleytown Elementary School nurse; he led many building projects, including the modern Staples High School.

As they raised their kids, moved to Woodside Avenue and enjoyed all that Westport offers, they forgot about that stone.

The Blairs’ stone.

But 66 years and 1 week from that date Carlos Colorado, his wife and young daughter moved to Westport.

While redoing their patio, they unearthed the stone. They thought about placing it somewhere prominent in their yard.

But after a quick Google search, they realized the Blairs are still alive. And still here.

Carlos posted that story on a local Facebook page. He asked anyone who knew the Blairs to please let them know.

“I am sure they would love to see this piece of their story and their memories, after so many years,” he wrote.

After 2/3 of a century in town, the Blairs are well known. Several people responded — including longtime EMT Mark Blake.

He’s known the couple for decades. He made the connection.

Mark Blake, with the stone.

Carlos showed Mark around his property — including the stone. Carlos cleaned it up, and invited the Blairs over to see “their” house.

“This is just another reason I love Westport, and am proud to serve the community,” Mark said. “These 2 families epitomize what Westport is.”

And on Friday, Carlos, his wife and daughter headed over to Woodside Avenue.

They heard all about life in Westport, when Eisenhower was president and the town was just starting to grow.

The Blairs and Colorados on Woodside Avenue, Friday afternoon.

“The Blairs are incredible people,” Carlos said. “They gave us a warm afternoon. Their strength and vitality left us amazed.

“I just hope that decades from now, my wife and I will be able to receive a young couple that happened to find a rock in the back yard of their recently purchased home in a quiet corner of Westport.

“And I hope we’ll be as bright, hearty and affection as the couple we met yesterday. In the meantime, I’ll take care of their house, as promised.”

Life At The Y

Last Friday was a typical summer day at the Y.  Swimmers swam; cyclists cycled; basketball players basketballed.

Suddenly, around noon, a player in one of those pickup hoops games dropped to the floor.

He was in full cardiac arrest.

A fellow player — the guest of a member, who is a nurse — began chest compressions.  Others ran for help.

Michael Friedman

Michael Friedman — a health and wellness specialist in the fitness center — was standing in the doorway.  Like every Y staffer — from the CEO on down — he’s been trained and regularly re-certified in both CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) use.

Michael grabbed the nearest AED unit — there are 3; this one was by the membership desk — and ran to the gym.

Ignoring a large head gash — sustained when the man collapsed — Michael checked for vital signs.  All were negative.  There was no pulse.

He attached the AED.  It recommended a shock.  He followed the prompts, and administered one.  Immediately, cardiac rhythm was restored.

“That’s a blessing,” Michael says.  “The best blood pump in the world is your own heart.  He wasn’t without a pulse for very long.”

Michael secured the man’s airway.  Then he and membership coordinator Steve Forlano attended to his  head wound.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Y staff followed the exact protocol they train for.  The membership desk called 911.  Someone waited outside to escort emergency personnel through the maze of hallways to the gym.

When firefighters, police and EMTs arrived, they took over.  Soon, the man was on his way to Norwalk Hospital.

The next day, his fianceé called the Y to thank everyone.  He could have died, she said.  Instead he had an angioplasty (and 17 stitches in his head), and will be fine.

He’ll be released from the hospital tomorrow.

Michael has a special background.  He spent 20 years with Weston’s fire department and EMTs.  But, he insists, “anyone in the building would have done what I did.

“It was a real team effort.  There were so many people involved.  I still don’t know all their names.

“There was an awesome continuum of care,” he adds. “From the minute he hit the floor to the end result, he had excellent care.

AEDs -- with clear instructions on how to use them -- save lives.

“AEDs were in place.  We were trained to use them.  Westport EMTs are some of the best in the country, so the pre-hospital help was fantastic.  And then Norwalk Hospital followed up with more great care.”

Michael concludes:  “I feel proud of the Y, and the team effort that took place.  I’m just glad I could take the training we’re all given, and apply it when it was needed.”

Michael had the weekend off.  He returns to the Y this week.

Soon, he’ll move to part-time status.  He’s headed to Norwalk Community College, taking courses in physical therapy.

He could probably skip the first-aid portion of the curriculum.

Then again, Michael Friedman never would.