More AEDs Do Save More Lives, ZOLL AED 3
The Grind Pembroke now has an automated external defibrillator on site thanks to a generous donation in memory of a former Pembroke resident. The Grind received the life-saving device in memory of retired Ontario Provincial Police Det. Staff Sgt. Ted O’Brien, who was born and raised in Pembroke. The device itself was provided by the Chase McEachern AED Memorial Fund.
Jerry Novack, executive director of The Grind Pembroke, said because of the number of people coming through the new Victoria Street location, including staff, volunteers and clients, it is important to have an AED within the facility. The Grind assists the vulnerable in the community, providing a number of services including serving lunches, providing a warming station and assisting people access community supports. Now that we have this device, we can provide some kind of emergency response if someone is in cardiac distress,” he said during the official unveiling on Feb. 4. “I feel confident we will be able to help if that ever happens.”
It was originally noticed by community volunteer Fred Blackstein that The Grind did not have a defibrillator and the organization began working to secure a device. That was when Novack received a call notifying him of O’Brien’s passing and indicating his family’s desire to honour Ted through this donation of an AED.
O’Brien was always proud to say he grew up in Pembroke and he was passionate about the community and helping others, which was evident through is 30-year policing career, said his brother-in-law Jeff Bahm, who spoke on behalf of Ted’s widow Laurie (his wife Alison’s sister).
“He was a very kind and generous guy,” he said. “He’d be proud that this defibrillator would be installed here at The Grind to make the community safer. The more AEDs there are in the public the more chances to save somebody’s life. Thank you to Chase McEachern Memorial Fund. This kind act goes a long way to ensuring the safety of those in the community in Pembroke and for that we are eternally grateful.”
John McEachern of the Chase McEachern AED Memorial Fund and his wife Dorothy were also on hand for the presentation of the device. They lost their 11-year-old son Chase on Feb. 15, 2006, one week after he collapsed at school due to cardiac arrest. Because of his heart condition, Chase has been campaigning to have it mandatory that defibrillators were made available in public places such as schools and arenas. Although Chase wasn’t able to see his dream become a reality, his parents have carried on his vision. John believes the concept of having this life-saving equipment available in public spaces was sparked when Don Cherry read Chase’s letter on Coach’s Corner. Cherry also highlighted the need following the youngster’s death.
In 2006, the Ontario government introduced the Chase McEachern Act (Heart Defibrillator Civil Liability Act) which protects individuals from being sued for using the defibrillator in good faith, John noted.
“We hope you never have to use it, but it’s here if you need it,” John added. “Ted was a friend of mine; there are not enough words to describe Ted. Even when you would have a bad day, Ted would look at you and smile and all of your worries would be gone. He played hard, worked hard but he always had time to say hello.”