By RON HARRIS
Daily Mountain Eagle
Jasper firefighters were recognized during Tuesday’s Jasper City Council meeting for their work in saving the life of a Jasper man two weeks ago.
Fred Nichols, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Jasper, suffered a heart attack at Maddox Intermediate School during a BUG (Bringing Up Grades) program for fourth graders at the school on March 6.
Nichols, 85, was not breathing and had no heartbeat when Jasper firefighters arrived on the scene less than four minutes after the incident happened.
Kiwanis Club members Billy Doss and Todd Thompson, along with Maddox teacher Leigh Evans, had started CPR on Nichols until firefighters could get on the scene. Once there, firefighters immediately began working to save Nichols’ life with CPR and use of an Automated External Defibrillator.
Nichols was taken by ambulance to Walker Baptist Medical Center and later airlifted to Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham, where he was placed in the hospital’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. Within a few days, Nichols was moved into a regular hospital room, and today he’s continuing his recovery.
“I’ve watched them fight fires and do other things, but I’ve never witnessed them save someone’s life,” said Maddox bookkeeper Deb McLemore, who’s married to firefighter Butch McLemore. “They were working so hard to save this man’s life, and they did so and they’re heroes. I’m thankful that we have a group of firefighters who take their job seriously, and regardless of what’s going on in the city’s, they’re going to do their job and take pride in it.”
“They were there within four minutes, and because of what they did Mr. Nichols is alive today,” said Maddox principal Marc Sargent, who attended Tuesday’s city council meeting. “I’m so thankful that we have firefighters and volunteers who do their job like they do.”
Sargent also praised the city council for recognizing the Jasper firefighters.
Jasper Mayor David O’Mary credited the firefighters with “a magnificent piece of work.”
“I want to thank you from bottom of my heart for the work of the Jasper Fire Department,” O’Mary said.
Firefighters recognized Tuesday were Capt. Ken Gunter, Lt. Justin Vincent, Capt. Dante Fields, firefighters Scott Dover, Jamie Butler, Nathan Morgan and Caleb Kitchens, Assistant Fire Chief Alan Clark and Fire Chief David Clark.
In other business, council members:
•approved minutes of the March 6 meeting.
•heard O'Mary read a proclamation that declares April as 'Child Abuse Awareness Month' in the city.
O'Mary presented the proclamation to April Metrock of the Walker County Children's Advocacy Center.
The proclamation reads, in part, that "child abuse and neglect not only directly harms children, but also increases the likelihood of criminal behavior, substance abuse, health problems such as heart disease and obesity, as well as risky behavior such as smoking" and that "effective child abuse prevention program succeed because of partnerships created among social service organizations, schools, faith communities, civic organizations, law enforcement agencies and the business community."
•recognized members of the Jasper Parks and Recreation Department’s 11-and-under girls basketball team that recently won an Alabama Parks and Recreation Association state basketball tournament.
•approved parade permits for the following:
— the Walker County Center of Technology’s 5K, set for April 17 in downtown Jasper.
— Art in the Park, planned for Saturday, May 12, from 6 a.m. until noon.
— the Ridez for a Reason Car Show, set for May 26 from 7 am. until 5 p.m. in downtown Jasper.
— First Methodist Church of Jasper’s Amped Vacation Bible School kickoff, set for July 22.
•adopted an amendment to the city’s budget for opening the outdoor pool at the Memorial Park Natatorium, as well as for other needs at the city’s parks and recreation department, and introduced an amendment to the budget for the city’s civic center to replace flooring.
•approved accepting a $10,000 donation from the Petco Foundation to be used at the city’s animal shelter.
“Petco has been very good to our animal shelter,” O’Mary said.
•approved allowing city clerk Kathy Chambless to attend a Certified Municipal Clerks and Master Municipal Clerks Training Institute March 21-22 in Hoover.
•approved travel for city sanitation department head Jon Geddings to attend the Solid Waste Association of Alabama spring meeting April 2-4 in Gulf Shores.
•adopted a resolution to approve a contract for a summer swim coach at the Memorial Park Natatorium.
•adopted a resolution to set costs for properties that fall under the city’s nuisance abatement ordinance. The properties were placed under the ordinance after being unsafe structures and for an inoperative vehicle.
The council also approved placing several properties under the ordinance.
•adopted a resolution to allow O’Mary to enter into an engineering contract with McGehee Engineering for the design of curb and gutter, drainage and sidewalks along 19th Street from 10th Avenue to 15th Avenue.
The council also approved allowing Nelson Engineering to advertise for bids for similar work on Alabama Avenue from 15th Street to 18th Street.
•approved allowing O’Mary to select an engineer for paving and other work along Airport Road. O’Mary then appointed McGehee Engineering to the project.
•heard from council member Willie Moore, who expressed concern with the conditions of a railroad crossing near the intersection of Highland Avenue and Crutchfield Boulevard.