Jean Williams had been a housekeeper at Inn of America on Northlake Boulevard for about two years when she snapped into action with CPR skills she learned from training at her church.
She was called to a room where colleagues found an unresponsive man whose fingers and lips were turning blue. She performed CPR for what she estimated was about 10 minutes until Palm Beach Gardens Police Officer Billy Bunch arrived, followed by paramedics. The unidentified man survived the ordeal last fall.
Williams and Bunch were among 11 officers and civilians honored with life-saving awards during the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department’s yearly awards ceremony Thursday morning.
“I brought him back and said, “God isn’t through with you yet,” Williams said as she received her award.
The man kept blacking out during the incident last fall, Williams recalled after the program. She was on her knees giving him CPR when Bunch arrived and took over. The man regained consciousness, asking for his phone as he was wheeled out on a stretcher, she said.
“I kept talking to him the whole time. I have high blood pressure, but my blood pressure wasn’t up,” Williams said after the program.
Officer Bethany Guerriero and plumber Clayton Merritt were honored for rescuing a woman who almost drowned after getting stuck in a drainage pipe in Lake Catherine in June. Merritt was working nearby and happened to have scuba gear. He jumped into the lake with Guerriero to help.
Merritt determined the woman was too far away in the pipe for anyone to get her out. Guerriero talked her into moving closer to the opening so Guerriero could pull the woman out.
Other officers who were honored helped save a man who almost jumped off an I-95 overpass onto Glades Road, a man who almost drowned after jumping out of an ambulance and into a pond, a suicidal man who cut both of his wrists and his throat, and a woman found in her home lying face down, barely breathing, after having chest pains.
Officer Ellen Lovejoy, an investigator and the department’s spokeswoman, was surprised with a separate award from American Legion Post 371 Commander Bill Doherty and Sergeant-at-Arms Irwin Bromley. Her other contributions include creating videos for retiring employees and helping coordinate the annual Joy Drive. The drive provides multiple gifts for more than 1,000 local children during the holidays.
“It was a total surprise. I was very honored by that,” she said. “They’re a great organization.”
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Volunteer of the Year: Citizen’s Mobile Patrol Sgt. William Sabine
Civilian of the Year: Crime Scene Investigator Dawn Watkins
Investigator of the Year: Officer Ellen Lovejoy
Officer of the Year: Sgt. Eduardo Guillen