‘We Owe Them Everything’ Says Family Aided by SO Rescue Squad

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Help the all-volunteer South Orange Rescue Squad win a $25,000 grant toward construction of its new headquarters. Click here!


On Thursday night May 21, Tim Callahan‘s two little girls went to bed.

If not for the South Orange Rescue Squad, they would have never seen their father again.

Later that night, around 11 p.m., Callahan, who had just turned 40, went into cardiac arrest. His heart had stopped when wife Mary called 911. Unbelievably, a South Orange police officer arrived in just over one minute. The South Orange Rescue Squad was right behind, responding in under 3 minutes.

“The doctors at the hospital kept asking ‘Are you sure?'” reports Callahan’s wife Mary. “They couldn’t believe it. It was so fast.”

Mary said that the speed of the Squad’s response was crucial. Not only did the Squad members bring Tim Callahan back to life, “they saved his brain cells,” said Mary, which would quickly have become irreparably damaged by loss of oxygen.

“If they weren’t there, he wouldn’t be here,” said Mary. “If they had been two minutes later, he wouldn’t be here.”

“We owe them everything.”

Tim Callahan feels the same way. “They did a hell of a job,” he said via phone from his South Orange home, where he is working while recuperating. “Just the fact that we have this crew in our town so dedicated to saving everybody. Everyone should know about them. They saved my life and I am forever grateful.”

SORS Captain Dan Cohen was in the backup ambulance that night. “Every once in a while,” said Cohen, “we get one of these calls, which reminds us of why we do what we do.”

Also responding that night were EMTs Matt Askin and Fee Ni Shuileabhain in the on-duty ambulance, along with Cohen and EMT Jacob Thomas in the backup ambulance.

“We arrived to find Tim lying on his stairs in cardiac arrest. We initiated CPR and defibrillation and after one round of CPR and one shock with the defibrillator, he started breathing again, although with inadequate respirations,” reported Cohen.

“We moved him out to the ambulance and at around that time a Mobile Intensive Care Unit arrived from St Barnabas with Paramedics Jim Kiernan and Andrew Bottoni.” Cohen reported that Callahan then went back into cardiac arrest with ventricular fibrillation again “so we defibrillated him a second time at which point his heart restarted. We continued to ventilate him (breathe for him) en route and we arrived at St. Barnabas with Tim still maintaining a strong pulse.”

After a week in the hospital, Callahan returned home to his wife and daughters.

Now, the all-volunteer South Orange Rescue Squad is asking for your help in fighting for the chance to win a $25,000 grant to complete their new headquarters.

The South Orange Rescue Squad has been selected into the top 200 organizations — out of more than 4,000 applicants— eligible to win one of 40 $25,000-grants as part of the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program.

The top 40 vote-receiving causes each will receive a $25,000 grant. Those finalists will be determined by votes on Facebook between May 14 and June 3. Each Facebook user will be able to vote up to 10 times per day for any of the causes that they want to support.

You can vote for the South Orange Rescue Squad by using its unique State Farm Facebook pagelink here.

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