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Cape’s ‘lifesavers’ earn Phoenix Awards

By Staff | May 19, 2015

When Ty Bossert saw his wife, Becky, not breathing on the morning of March 27, he took immediate action to save his wife’s life.

Ty called 911, and after a few minutes of CPR, Lee County EMS and members of the Cape Coral Fire Department came and finished the job of saving Becky’s life.

For everyone’s heroics on that day, and for several other life saving teams in Cape Coral and throughout Lee County, they were rewarded for their heroism at the Lee County Division of Public Safety Phoenix Award ceremony Monday at the Old County Courthouse in Fort Myers.

Of the 27 life-saving incidents that occurred in the last six months, four were in Cape Coral.

But perhaps it was the Bosserts call that tugged at the heart the most, seeing as it isn’t often these people get to see the result of their work.

Ty said the couple was going to take a nap just before noon. Becky went to lie down on the bed and he sat on a chair nearby.

“I looked up and I saw her arms were going up and her eyes rolled back, and by the time I got to her, her lips and tongue were purple and she wasn’t breathing,” Ty said.

Ty called 911 and dispatcher Jennifer Raitto had him performing CPR right away. Lee County EMS paramedic Lisa Collins and EMT Javier Mermudez came on the scene, along with Acting Engineer Grant Stallions and firefighter Jordan Mendes of the Cape Coral Fire Department. Ty said there were there within three minutes.

Each received an award, while Ty earned the Citizen Life Saver medal for his role.

For Becky, it was the first time she had seen those who saved her, and it was an honor for her to get up and speak on their behalf and about what it was like for her.

“Everybody says you pass out and you have no idea what happened. When I came to some 14 days later, I thought I was in because of a brain tumor,” Becky said. “My husband went through hell. He knew what was going on.”

That was the tip of the iceberg. On Nov. 6, 2014, a person complained of back pain and nausea prior to cardiac arrest.

The person received quick defibrillation pulses from first responders and quickly had a heartbeat restored.

Nicholas Favazzo and Gary Russell from Lee County EMS responded, as did Jerome Dillon, Brent Jackson and David Crocket from the Cape Coral Fire Department.

Cape Coral and Lee County first responders were also on hand to save the life of a city person who was in cardiac arrest for more than 30 minutes on Christmas Day.

The patient received prolonged CPR, defibrillation, shock and medication to establish a pulse, then given cold IVs to preserve brain function.

Marsha Hoyt, Jenifer Raben, and Michael McSheehy of Lee County EMS and Michael Grimmett of Lee County Dispatch earned awards along with Anthony Demos, Robert Fonock, Gabriel Morgan, Jay Givens and Michael Harper of the Cape Coral Fire Department

“It comes down us doing our job. Nobody thinks you’re going to have a cardiac arrest on Christmas,” Fonock said. “We were on a mish-mosh crew, but we worked well together and everything went smooth.”

Also, on Jan. 23, eight first responders saved the life of a 17-year-old construction worker who was electrocuted on the job.

The victim’s fellow workers started CPR, while Natalie Leon and Leslie Mosley of the Lee County EMS and Gregory Lacoste, Ian Milliken, Erik Smith, Timothy Lester, Dominik Canova and Kenneth Ossowicz of the Cape Fire Department came in to assume care.

“These events give us a professional award, and remind us that for all we do, it keeps the long-term goal in mind,” said Ryan Lamb, division chief.

Many of Cape Coral’s top dignitaries were on hand for the program, including Mayor Marni Sawicki and Councilmember John Carioscia, himself a former police officer.

“We have well-trained personnel who are very vigilant and work hard at what they do. Once they’re on the scene, they know what to do,” Carioscia said. “I am very proud to be here and be a part of it.”

For Rob Farmer, director of Lee County Public Safety, this is one of the best parts of his job.

“To be able to bring people back to meet their responders is awesome. We also want to recognize the private citizens that participate,” Farmer said. “The responders get to see great results.”