Fillmore County Deputy Jesse Grabau, Fillmore County Commissioner Thomas Kaase and Fillmore County Sheriff Daryl Jensen were pleased to show the county's new automated external defibrillators to the public during an open house held last Wednesday afternoon.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->
Fillmore County Deputy Jesse Grabau, Fillmore County Commissioner Thomas Kaase and Fillmore County Sheriff Daryl Jensen were pleased to show the county's new automated external defibrillators to the public during an open house held last Wednesday afternoon.

A commissioner, a doctor and a sheriff got together in the boardroom.

The excitement of the day?

Quite a shocker.

"I responded to a call for a man in Olmsted County who was experiencing chest pain and was sweating profusely, but before I got there, a deputy who had a defibrillator in his squad car had gotten there, and the man had become unconscious," related Mayo Clinic cardiac physician Dr. Roger White.

White was addressing a gathering in the Fillmore County courthouse commissioners' boardroom last Wednesday afternoon as the county celebrated a grant which allowed the county to purchase additional automated external defibrillators (AED).

"The deputy laid him down and used a defibrillator to shock the man and restore his heart rhythm to a normal one. The man sat up, was talking and answering questions, and he was even right about what year it was and who the president was. All this happened in the presence of the deputy, before the ambulance could get there." White went on, "For those who have the right heart rhythm to be shocked using an automated external defibrillator (AED), there's a rapid response if the deputies are in the right place at the right time with the right equipment."

Fillmore County deputies are now equipped with AEDs in all 18 squad cars, thanks to a grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services and some diligent work on the part of former assistant sheriff Tom Kycek, deputy Jesse Grabau, county Human Resources coordinator Kristina Kohn and county coordinator Karen Brown.

Brown engaged White's assistance after learning of the availability of a $171,618 grant that would allow for the placement of 72 AEDs in squad cars, city halls and public meeting centers such as Chatfield's art center. The first year's allowance of $36,425, already received and spent, paid for the AEDs to be put in the squad cars, and contingent upon funding availability, the second year's allowance of $68,680 will pay for those placed in city halls, and the third year's stipend will pay for placement in public meeting centers. The AEDs are expected to be in deputies' squad cars within the coming month, and training will be ongoing with the assistance of Preston Ambulance director Ryan Throckmorton.

Expressing regret that his assistant chief could not attend, Fillmore County Sheriff Daryl Jensen related that the concept was originally Kycek's.

"Before he retired, Tom told me he wanted to do this. A grant like this is so important to us...I don't think we should try to put one AED in one squad car this year and another next year. The people of the county deserve better than that," Jensen said. "This process was cumbersome and difficult, and it should be - we have people who put a lot of energy into it. Kristina Kohn played a lead role in making it happen, making it a success, but it's an ongoing project, a dream, and there are great things we'll be able to do with this."

He also stated, "I appreciate everything Kristina has done and continues to do. When the grant from the Department of Health and Human Services came to light in March, Karen Brown put in a lot of time, too - she's very deserving of a lot of credit. The team, Tom, Kristina and Karen, spent three weeks - all the time they had - to write the grant, and it was full of stress. I understand they pushed the 'send' button together because of their joint effort."

Jensen also explained that Deputy Grabau has accepted the responsibility of managing the grant, seeing that the AEDs are put in the squad cars, maintained and the training completed for those who will use the equipment.

"This really changes how we do business - if a squad car is closer than the ambulance, the officer has the AED and can attach it to the patient before the ambulance arrives," Jensen added. "We all know that travel in Fillmore County means some difficult places to go, and I think there will be occasions where officers will get there before the ambulance and be able to help."

Fillmore County Commissioner Thomas Kaase spoke next, recounting how he had helped save the life of a man in Rochester by using an AED and how that changed his perspective.

"We get a lot of opportunities to help people, and looking back at my career, being involved with that save was the most satisfying, rewarding thing I could have done, one of the greatest memories in my career," he concluded. "And today is a very, very good day in Fillmore County - getting these AEDs will have a positive impact, increase the chances of saving lives."