Bringing their ‘A-game’ brings life: First-responders earn praise


Local first responders earn praise

By John Hamilton - jhamilton@wnewsj.com



James Harris, right, stands next to Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Couch, who aided James’ wife, Sheila, when she suffered a cardiac arrest.

James Harris, right, stands next to Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Couch, who aided James’ wife, Sheila, when she suffered a cardiac arrest.


Courtesy photos

Sheila, center, and James Harris, right, were happy to get a visit from Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Couch while she recovered from a cardiac arrest. The family believes if Couch hadn’t arrived to her home, Sheila wouldn’t be alive today.


Courtesy photos

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As people across the nation take time to reflect on what they’re thankful for, one local family is thankful for the heroic actions of local first responders.

Sheila Harris suffered a cardiac arrest in the middle of the night at her home in September. Her husband, Thomas, along with Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Couch, performed CPR on Sheila until the Chester Township EMS arrived and provided further care and transport.

“I thought how it’s not fair for you to die now, not before retirement with Daddy” said Sheila’s daughter, Diana Allen.

Allen said she blamed herself and her siblings for “the stress we’ve caused with you by worrying about us.” Allen said she thought about many things including not wanting to plan a funeral to not wanting her father, James, to live alone.

“That’s a lot to think about in a few minutes,” Allen said.

While at Clinton Memorial Hospital, Dr. Rachel Perkins and Dr. Keith Tofte further treated Sheila. She was later transported via CareFlight to Kettering Medical Center and put in intensive care.

By Oct. 1, Sheila was off her ventilator and was awake, talking, and told Allen “not to lose her things.”

Allen told the News Journal that emergency dispatchers talked to her father through CPR procedures and Deputy Couch jumped in upon his speedy arrival.

“She’d be dead for sure if he and the dispatchers had not brought their A-game,” said Allen.

Allen recalled Couch’s work in an Oct. 3 post on Facebook. According to her, within a few moments after the 911 call, she ran downstairs to unlock the door, Couch’s cruiser was sitting in the driveway.

As the dispatcher was informing Allen on CPR procedures, Couch came in and said to Allen, “I got this.”

“It’s a good thing, too, because I had no clue,” said Allen.

Because of his actions, Couch was recognized and was recommended for a Life Saver award. which will be given at the end of the year.

Col. Brian Prickett of the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office told the News Journal they were very proud of Couch utilizing the training all deputies receive.

“Many times, especially in the rural areas of our county, law enforcement is the first to arrive to a medical emergency, and we feel it’s important to provide the best care possible until EMS arrives,” said Prickett.

The Harris family expresses their gratitude to Couch for his efforts and to Cody Erbaugh of the Chester Township EMS, who was the first EMS on hand and did CPR after Couch.

Allen also wanted to recognize other Chester Township Fire/EMS personnel including Ben and Patty Worstell, Jessica Kerwood, Michelle Whipple, Scott Spicer, Billy Sparks, Todd Mays, Diana Spence and Dale Meeks.

“It’s hard to convey my gratitude without turning into a sobbing mess,” said Allen “It’s debt I’ll never be able to repay. ‘Thank you’ seems inadequate, but it’s the best I’ve got.”

As for Sheila, now resting and recovering at home, she said, “Thank you for saving my life — and that’s from my heart.”

James Harris, right, stands next to Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Couch, who aided James’ wife, Sheila, when she suffered a cardiac arrest.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/11/web1_Couch-Harris-2-1.jpgJames Harris, right, stands next to Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Couch, who aided James’ wife, Sheila, when she suffered a cardiac arrest. Courtesy photos

Sheila, center, and James Harris, right, were happy to get a visit from Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Couch while she recovered from a cardiac arrest. The family believes if Couch hadn’t arrived to her home, Sheila wouldn’t be alive today.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/11/web1_Couch-Harris-1-1.jpgSheila, center, and James Harris, right, were happy to get a visit from Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Couch while she recovered from a cardiac arrest. The family believes if Couch hadn’t arrived to her home, Sheila wouldn’t be alive today. Courtesy photos
Local first responders earn praise

By John Hamilton

jhamilton@wnewsj.com

Share your story

Do you have a great experience with local first-responders (police/fire/EMS) you’d like to share with us and with the public? Let us know at info@wnewsj.com or with this story on our Facebook page.

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574