Parkview Huntington honors lifesavers with challenge coins

Parkview Huntington Hospital Emergency Medical Services held its first-ever challenge coin ceremony on Monday, Jan. 22, in the hospital’s lobby. The challenge coins commemorate the individuals’ actions in saving the life of Jerry Brumbaugh, who suffered a heart attack last summer. Individuals to receive a coin were (from left) Bill Wike, who administered CPR; Chris Newton, chief deputy, Huntington County Sheriff’s Department; Jerry Brumbaugh; Rob Kumler and Jill Porter, crew members, Parkview Huntington EMS; and Matt Blackburn, Chris Brumbaugh, Kevin Close and Brandon Bollinger, firefighters, Huntington Fire Department.
Parkview Huntington Hospital Emergency Medical Services held its first-ever challenge coin ceremony on Monday, Jan. 22, in the hospital’s lobby. The challenge coins commemorate the individuals’ actions in saving the life of Jerry Brumbaugh, who suffered a heart attack last summer. Individuals to receive a coin were (from left) Bill Wike, who administered CPR; Chris Newton, chief deputy, Huntington County Sheriff’s Department; Jerry Brumbaugh; Rob Kumler and Jill Porter, crew members, Parkview Huntington EMS; and Matt Blackburn, Chris Brumbaugh, Kevin Close and Brandon Bollinger, firefighters, Huntington Fire Department. Photo by Steve Clark.

Parkview Huntington Hospital Emergency Medical Services has started a new tradition to recognize individuals who have saved a life.

On Monday, Jan. 22, in the lobby at Parkview Huntington Hospital, the local EMS group held its first-ever challenge coin ceremony. Challenge coins commemorate meritorious service. These special tokens were first handed out in the military, but are now utilized by public safety personnel, too.

Carla Gebert remarked that Parkview Huntington EMS, which she manages, will distribute the coins in instances where individuals have done “something above and beyond” in the act of saving a live.

The recipients of the EMS group’s inaugural round of challenge coins were deemed to have fit that bill impeccably. Last summer, Jerry Brumbaugh was working at the Parkview Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County when he collapsed, suffering from a heart attack. Huntington resident Bill Wike was close by and rushed to Brumbaugh to perform CPR. Chris Newton, chief deputy of the Huntington County Sheriff’s Department, was next to respond; he grabbed the automated external defibrillator (AED) in his vehicle, provided by Parkview Huntington Hospital, and began defibrillating Brumbaugh’s heart.

Huntington Fire Department firefighters Matt Blackburn, Brandon Bollinger, Chris Brumbaugh and Kevin Close arrived after Newton and continued to administer CPR. Huntington EMS crew members Jill Porter and Rob Kumler then hit the scene and provided advanced life support treatment. The duo was able to regain Brumbaugh’s pulse and then transported him to a hospital.

Gebert is awed by the teamwork that the responding parties displayed in working to aid Brumbaugh, who was treated, released from the hospital and now back on his feet.

“I just think the biggest key to me is how this completes the entire American Heart Association circle,” she says, “with the CPR-trained layperson or community person; first responders with the AEDs; EMS with the (advanced life support treatment), that’s the story here.
“Everybody came in together to make a difference.”

The challenge coins feature the Parkview EMS logo on one side, with the words “In recognition of saving a life” inscribed beneath it. The reverse side features the words “I stand ready all the time to help my fellow man,” which are encircled by the words “To save one life is as if to save the world.”

The coins were designed by Gebert and her team. The design, she notes, has been adopted by all Parkview EMS groups.

Ultimately, Gebert looks forward to putting the coins in the hands of more individuals who remain calm in high-pressure situations and render life-saving actions.

“When you see the first responders in the community and EMS all working together to save a life, that’s exactly what these are for,” she says.