Ready to ref again: Life-saving team honored at Heroes Breakfast

October 2014 Posted in People

By Molly Gunther

Newberg resident Perry Kimberly can officially call the people who helped to save his life heroes.

Kimberly was officiating a boys varsity basketball game at Silverton High School on Jan. 31 when he collapsed from a cardiac event.

Fans from both South Albany and Silverton High schools quickly came to Kimberly’s aid, while the gym was cleared.

On Sept. 11, those who came to Perry’s rescue were recognized at the Willamette Chapter of the American Red Cross’ 19th annual Heroes Breakfast in Salem.

Kimberly is grateful for the fans at both schools. He knows the cardiac event could have happened anywhere.

“It happened to me in the right spot,” Kimberly said. “I remember waking up and my shirt had been ripped open. I always attach my whistle to my shirt and I saw it lying on the ground next to me. I reached for my whistle and they said, ‘No, no, you’re done for today.’”

After Kimberly collapsed,  a number of people sprang into action.

Silverton High School security officers Dan Magee and Julie Yount  immediately directed spectators, coaches and athletes out of the gym in an orderly fashion.

Current student and volunteer firefighter Wyatt Crofts raced to grab one of the two automated external defibrillators mounted near the gym wall.

Albany nurse Amie Joe Roper was the first to reach Kimberly after handing her 18-month-old child off to her son. She began chest compressions and CPR. She placed the AED pads on his chest.

Silverton Drs. Tim and Sarah Peters also stepped in. Tim Peters kept checking Kimberly for a pulse.

“When someone experiences a cardiac event the best thing for their survival is a quick shock response from an AED,” Peters said. “So we all did something but it was that simple device that saved his life.”

Yount, Crofts, Roper and Tim Peters were present at the Heroes Breakfast to receive medals presented by Huggins Insurance. Kimberly was all smiles at the event, shaking each one’s hand several times and embracing Roper as she stepped off the stage.

“It feels nice to be honored,” Peters said. “But I think I did what anyone would have done.”

His son, Matthew Peters, who played in the JV game that night, will be surveying businesses in Silverton and creating a map of all the AEDs in town for his senior project.

“All the businesses will get a copy of this map so they know where the closest AEDs are,” Peters said.

Silverton High School Athletic Director Greg Kaatz listed a few others who were part of the team to help Kimberly – substitute Certified Athletic Trainer Melissa Martin, Maureen Fennimore, off-duty Portland police officer Kevin Wolf who called 911, and his wife Stacy.

Kaatz said his clearest memory was how quickly Kimberly just dropped.

“I believe everyone acted quickly, but the first two to three seconds felt like an eternity,” Kaatz said. “I know we had an AED on him and it advised a shock within three minutes of him going down. I believe he regained consciousness within about five minutes.”

The Jan. 31 game resumed with the JV official filling in for Kimberly. Now, thanks to the quick and deliberate actions of several individuals, Kimberly has recovered and is looking forward to officiating this basketball season.

“My doctor says go for it,” Kimberly said.

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