Garfield County Sheriff’s Department honors four for saving inmate’s life |

Garfield County Sheriff’s Department honors four for saving inmate’s life

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
John Gardner/Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – On Jan. 29, 2009, four people saved the life of an inmate in the Garfield County Jail.

The inmate collapsed in his cell, minutes after 6 a.m.

A detention deputy on duty in the jail pod noticed the male in the cell who appeared unconscious, and called for help.

The first to arrive were deputy Toni Hauser and nurse Dolena Hart. The two quickly found that the male had no pulse, and he was not breathing. They immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Just a few moments later, Deputy Cole Edwards and Cpl. Max Patton arrived in the cell to help. They heard the distress call over the radio, and left their station in booking to aid the others.

The four worked together for close to three minutes, switching off breathing and compressions, before they found a pulse again.

An ambulance took the inmate to Valley View Hospital, and Patton accompanied him on the ride. He was released from the hospital after one day, and returned to the jail.

It’s a series of events that Patton has gone over in his mind several times since Jan. 29. And it’s something he won’t soon forget.

“We were ready,” Patton explained. “Whether we thought we were or not, we went right in there and did it.”

Patton, Hauser, Edwards and Hart were honored for their heroics with a ceremony at the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office Friday morning as the first recipients of the LifeSaving Award. The four received a framed award and a medal for their actions.

“Their actions on that day saved that male’s life,” said Sgt. Donivan Livingston to a crowd of co-workers, family and friends. “That is what we are here to award.”

Sheriff Lou Vallario said that it’s important to recognize such duties, which he called “above and beyond.”

“In the jail, you have a very monotonous job. For something like this to happen in the jail is out of the ordinary. And for them to respond to that situation in the way they did, and to save a life, deserves to be recognized,” Vallario said.

Vallario said that as long as he’s been sheriff, there have been only a couple of incidents of an inmate losing consciousness, but none of the situations compared in magnitude to this one.

Deputy Edwards, who’s been with the Sheriff’s Office for two years, considered the honor a great career accomplishment.

“I appreciate the award from the Sheriff’s Office, it means a lot,” Edwards said. “To already have this honor is a great thing for me.”

For Cpl. Patton, 65, who has been with the Sheriff’s Office for about seven years, the award had a slightly more sentimental meaning coming at the same time as he is retiring from law enforcement.

“That makes it even more special,” he said after the ceremony. “When you know that you got to that point where things could have been really different for [the inmate], it’s really a good feeling that we saved his life.”

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