In these challenging times, it’s important to realize the “miracles” that happen in Life….like this one, in Cranford, about 6 weeks ago (which may, to some, seem like a different time…yet, the kindness of humanity will always be evident.
The day was Monday, February 3rd. I’ll never forget that day, regardless of how old I am. One “little” reason the day was memorable, well, it was “Superbowl Monday” – the day after one of the largest sports celebrations in our country (a day that many take off of work.) Another reason was, the temperature that early February morning was nearly 60 degrees ...unseasonably warm, and a perfect excuse to take our dog to the park after I had run some errands, while my husband, Jim, an avid football fan, had stayed at the house with our Jack Russell Terrier, Bella.
On the way to Nomahegan Park in Cranford, where we usually go with Bella, we picked up some hot dogs at Jimmy Buff’s on Kenilworth Boulevard. We headed to our “usual spot”, at the Trap and Skeet range, but that day the Parking Lot was closed. So, we went to the more populated park across Springfield Avenue. We sat down at a picnic table and ate our hot dogs. I walked Bella to the park’s bridge and back – on my own; my husband Jim had said he “didn’t feel too hot,” but contributed it to a “late night the night before.”
It was when we walked back to our car, when Jim collapsed. I can see it in my mind still; almost like he folded into himself as he fell. While it felt like a surreal experience, and I was nearly paralyzed with shock, a terrified voice within me screamed for help – and loudly. Before I could surmise anything, our angel Amy approached me…we tried, but couldn’t turn him over. Dog leash still in my hand, my mind raced and yelled to me, “Don’t Let her go!!!” Next thing I remember, I screamed Jim’s name over and over, lost count of how many times. Two men approached us, who were able to turn Jim onto his back and call 911. Amy started doing CPR; it felt like just minutes yet a lifetime all at once. I don’t remember much after that other than sheer terror. Seeing Jim like that, was he alive, would he make it, or was he “gone”? My mind was beyond chaotic.
The EMT’s from Cranford Fire and Rescue, under the management of Battalion Chief Andy Stratton (Cranford Fire Dept.) arrived on scene, after about 5 minutes … a wonderful response, yet I’d lost my concept of time. By then, Amy was already preparing me to get into the Ambulance. I still had my 15 year-old Bella with me, who occasionally snips at people in my car and in the park. A new level of terror set in at that point – what would I do with my precious dog? The caring, wonderful stranger, Amy, who not only did CPR on my husband, she helped me to call my family. She then promised me that she would wait for someone to come for my beloved Bella. I felt like my life was also ending, and no matter what I did, it wouldn’t be the right decision…lose my dog, lose my husband, or both?
But, our “Earth Angel” Amy came to our rescue and helped me with both of my most precious beings. (How do you thank an Earth Angel?) That hellacious day could have ended differently, so tragically, if Amy hadn’t gone to the park that day. Instead, the terror was turned into hope, and the tragedy into mercy.
I also want to thank Robin and Diana, from Linden. Due to my husband and his brother, John, both employees of Linden’s Department of Public Works, they had been informed by the Cranford Police and Fire Department about Jim’s emergency. They rushed to the Park and drove my car and Bella home. And the Cranford EMT’s, who were amazing; and the Overlook and Morristown CCU units.
One important message I’d like to get across here, from our hour of terror in the Cranford Nomahegan Park, is that there is a huge goodness in a community that comes together do help save a life, help a loved one in distress, and take an innocent, scared pet into their car. Thank you, members of Cranford community.
However, the utmost important lesson that we learned – and we’d like to pay it forward – is that CPR saves lives! One doesn’t have to be an EMT, nurse or medical professional to learn and administer CPR. I urge all to learn it…we never know when we will become the “Angel” Amy was to us that day. When the time is right, Jim and I would like to sponsor a CPR Class through a certified instructor. Thanks again to all who helped us in this near-tragic situation, that turned into a Miracle that we will forever be grateful for.