MEDFORD, Ore.– Some days, duty calls even when you’re not expecting it. On Tuesday, a ceremony was held at Medford Fire-Rescue’s Fire Station 4 to recognize the efforts of three hometown heroes who saved a man’s life.
Shelly Diaz, Cheryl Martin, and Erin Atchley all received a Citizen Recognition for their efforts in helping to keep 62-year-old Jim Tipler alive as they waited for paramedics to show up.
On December 3, Tipler had stopped to help push a disabled car into a parking lot near Big Lots off East McAndrews Road. However, as he was pushing, he suffered a cardiac arrest.
Several bystanders immediately jumped into action with some calling 911, others looking for an AED and one person providing CPR.
“I just had come out of Big Lots and normally I go the other way,” said Diaz. “I was led to go that way and I saw a bunch of people standing around and I thought, ‘That’s a lot of people.'”
Diaz, a respiratory nurse at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, kicked into gear and was the one providing CPR to Tipler. She says it was a team effort and one that led to a positive outcome.
“Jim’s at the hospital and he looks great,” she said. “It warms your heart to know that he’s going to be home with his family.”
At the ceremony, Medford Fire-Rescue applauded the three women for their work describing the importance of what it calls “chain of survival.” Chief Brian Fish said in these sudden situations, having people work together as a team is critical. MFR says a person’s greatest chance of survival exists when these links are strong and studies have shown when CPR is provided immediately, a person’s chance of living can double or triple.
But among those most thankful for the effort provided by everyone that night was Tipler’s family, who are happy he’s still with them. Judy Tipler, Jim’s wife, says they’ve been married for four decades with five children and four grandchildren. She’s thankful they get to spend another Christmas together.
“Everyone that was there and has been with us through this I am extremely grateful,” said Judy Tipler, Jim’s wife. “All of my family is because Jim is still our brick.”
Still, to the people that helped save Jim’s life, they wouldn’t say they’re heroes. Some days, duty calls.
“No not a hero,” said Diaz. “Just stepped in with the rest of the team. But no, not a hero.”
NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.