By Mrs. Martha Yoshida (Leonard Wood)March 31, 2016
One retired Airman at Fort Leonard Wood prefers not to talk a lot, but it's what he said to an individual who was having trouble that made all the difference in the world.
For his actions to persuade a co-worker to seek medical attention, Ken Brookshire, Counter Explosives Hazards Center kennel manager, received the Achievement Medal for Civilian Service, during a ceremony Feb. 26 at Smith Hall.
On Dec. 17, 2015, Brookshire was on his way to Smith Hall to attend the CEHC holiday office party.
As he was driving to the celebration, Brookshire noticed a co-worker's vehicle parked at the CEHC warehouse, so he took a detour to tease Tyrone Dedrick, CEHC tractor operator, about missing the office function.
When he arrived inside the warehouse, Brookshire found Dedrick in distress and having speech, vision and coordination problems.
"I wasn't feeling well at the party and excused myself to go back to my office," Dedrick said. "I had slurred speech. I kept dozing off. I kept wondering what's going on."
Dedrick said, in spite of feeling bad, he didn't want to go to the hospital.
"I thought it was just going to pass and didn't feel like going to the hospital," said Dedrick, who joined civil service after more than 20 years as an Army combat engineer. "I figured the doctor was just going to tell me to take an aspirin and call him in the morning."
Eventually, Brookshire's persistence paid off and Dedrick agreed to go to the hospital.
Dedrick's supervisor, Mark McNulty, CEHC facility manager, said what Brookshire did was great.
"When Ken got down there (to the warehouse), he quickly reacted and took Tyrone to the hospital," McNulty said. "If Ken didn't pick him up, nobody would have noticed for three or four hours. I think if Ken wouldn't have been there, who knows what would have happened?"
Keith Dupont, CEHC technical director, who presented Brookshire with the award, said, "That intervention potentially saved Tyrone's life."
"He was pretty sick and having some serious issues," Dupont said. "Because Ken intervened, made the right decision, came in and let leadership know what was going on, we still have one member of the team on board. That deserves recognition. We appreciate it almost as much as Tyrone and his Family."
Brookshire, who joined civil service after more than 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, said he did not do anything out of the ordinary.
"All I did was drive Dedrick to the hospital," Brookshire said.
Dedrick responded, "I didn't think this would ever happen to me. It kind of hit home when the doctor said it was my heart and I could have died."
"I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for him," said Dedrick. "I am blessed that he came down there at that time. He didn't need to. I appreciate what Ken did."
Should you intervene?
Linda Sanford, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital public health nurse, said people are often afraid to intervene when others are feeling bad, since they are afraid of being wrong.
"This story is a great reminder to people that it is OK for them to get involved," said Sanford, who has been a nurse for 16 years. "Even if it turns out to be a false alarm, it's better to err on the side of caution."
Sanford, a registered nurse, with a Bachelor of Science in nursing, offered a few tips for people to recognize signs of a heart attack.
"Generally heart attacks are sudden and start slowly with mild pain or discomfort," she said. "The most common warning signs are uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain anywhere in the chest lasting more than a few minutes. Other signs may include chest discomfort with light-headedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, vomiting or shortness of breath or chest discomfort with a feeling of doom."
"The pain or discomfort can be in other parts of the upper body including one or both arms, the back, neck jaw or stomach and could include breaking out in a cold sweat," she added.
"The key to remember is do not delay -- call 911 immediately and take one regular aspirin, if available," she said. "Also, when calling 911 be sure to indicate that you are having chest pain. It's not recommended to drive yourself to the hospital because it could delay care and could also be dangerous."
For additional health resources and information, contact GLWACH Public Health Nursing at 573.596.0131, ext. 60491.