THREE PEOPLE TO BE HONORED IN OAK FOREST CEREMONY
THEIR EFFORTS SAVED A LIFE DURING ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICES
AT ST. DAMIAN CHURCH
CHICAGO (February 18, 2005) – Three people will be honored by the Oak Forest Fire Department at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22, during ceremonies at Oak Forest City Hall for their efforts in saving the life of a man who collapsed during Ash Wednesday services at St. Damian Church, 5300 W. 155 th St., Oak Forest.
Two of the honorees are paramedics, Joe Conway and Kirt Westgren, who revived Thomas Quinn using a defibrillator recently purchased by the parish. Lynn Hilger, a St. Damian parishioner, will be recognized for her efforts in securing the life-saving defibrillators for both the church and St. Damian School.
According to Fr. Michael Meany, pastor of St. Damian, Ms. Hilger researched the use of defibrillators and strongly encouraged him to take advantage of an opportunity to purchase some last summer at a reduced price through the local public school district that had decided to buy defibrillators for all its schools. The district offered the Catholic school the opportunity to purchase some as well. After deciding to purchase one for the school and another for use in the gym, Fr. Meany said they should also have one in church. That proved to be a life-saving decision.
When the three defibrillators were purchased, Mr. Conway agreed to train several members of the school personnel and many of the church ushers in their use.
Thomas Quinn collapsed during the homily on Ash Wednesday, Conway and Westgren quickly responded. When Fr. Meany realized this was not just a simple fainting incident, he stopped services to give Mr. Quinn the anointing of the sick. In the meantime, the congregation continued to pray, and an usher went to get the church’s new defibrillator, which was then used to revive Mr. Quinn.
Quinn, who had a permanent defibrillator put in his heart at Palos Hospital, was released February 16 and is doing fine now. Fire Chief Lindsay Laycoax will do the honors during Tuesday night’s ceremony that will briefly interrupt the regular Oak Forest City Council meeting.