MFD honors several individuals for their heroic roles


By Alixandria Wells-Good

Contributing writer

MECHANICSBURG – On Thursday, June 1, the Mechanicsburg Fire Department recognized several individuals for their heroic roles in saving a Champaign County man’s life.

Steve Castle, assistant fire chief at the Mechanicsburg Fire Department, recalled the incident: “On Monday, March 6, 2023 Mr. John Donnersbach was occupying his leisure time with his model train set while his wife, Mrs. Ruth Donnersbach and her daughter, Jennifer Faugh, along with her 18-month-old son took an afternoon walk.

“Upon returning home, Ruth and Jennifer noticed that John was sitting at the dining room table unresponsive. Ruth, who is a retired PCA from Ohio Health of Shelby County, further made the observation that John was not breathing and had no pulse. Ruth immediately lowered John to the floor and initiated CPR and instructed Jennifer to dial 911. Champaign County 911 dispatchers answered the call and very promptly dispatched Mechanicsburg Fire Department EMS crew to the Donnersbach residence for a 61-year-old male in full cardiac arrest with CPR in progress.

“Upon hearing the initial radio dispatch, off-duty Mechanicsburg paramedic Drew Ream, who lives in the nearby vicinity, responded from his home in his personal vehicle. Ream, being the first on-scene EMS provider, arrived at the residence and relieved Ruth of her resuscitation efforts. Within six minutes after dispatch the advanced life support paramedic crew from the Mechanicsburg Fire Department arrived on scene. From that point, the following ongoing resuscitation efforts were a collectively applied, highly coordinated, and precise execution of psychomotor skills and cognitive knowledge of prehospital resuscitation of cardiac arrest. The Mechanicsburg EMS crew worked diligently to re-establish John’s heartbeat using a combination of medication, and electric therapy along with effective delivery of each breath. The efforts proved to be effective, and they were able to regain a pulse (i.e., restart the heart) for John Donnersbach while on scene. He was subsequently transported to Mercy Health – Urbana Hospital in Urbana for further stabilization and finally relocated to Springfield Regional Medical Center where he was admitted and received definitive care.”

Castle also shared, “Statistically, out of hospital cardiac arrest such as what John suffered have poor outcomes. Fortunately for John, on the day of March 6, 2023, everything necessary for a favorable outcome was in place, i.e., immediate on-scene high quality CPR, highly-trained ALS (advanced life support) EMS providers along with BLS (Basic Life Support) EMS providers were available to deliver the necessary care. The availability of Local Emergency Medical Services is an absolute vital part of a community public safety program. Public support is strongly encouraged and is worthy of the utmost priority.

Mechanicsburg Fire Chief Matt Bebout spoke before presenting the awards, which recognized Assistant Fire Chief Paramedic Steve Castle, EMT Magdalin Crain, Fire Chief EMT Matt Bebout, MFD EMT Kirsten Koester, MFD Paramedic Tristan Dunlap, and MFD Paramedic Drew Ream.

Bebout stated, “Through the outstanding efforts of the family, dispatchers, EMS crews, Deputy Sheriff, nurses, and doctors, Mr. Donnersbach made a full recovery.”

As each award was presented, the recipient had the chance to embrace Donnersbach and his family, all of whom were full of thanks, and tears were shed by both the family and award recipients.

Donnersbach said to the group how thankful he was for all involved in saving his life. He stated, “Sometimes the good Lord looks down on us and touches all of us.”

He went on to say that he and his wife relocated to the area about a year and a half ago to be near their two children, who are teachers in the area. He said that upon moving here they didn’t know much about the community and considered himself kind of an outsider, and went on to state, “but it’s great to know that people are caring wherever you go.”

Reach the writer at [email protected]

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