It is with immense gratitude and enormous pride that I thank the City of West Covina's Fire and Police personnel, who saved the life of my friend, Bill Schafer, at City Hall at last night's City Council meeting.
After speaking at the podium, Bill had what looked to be a heart attack in his seat. Without even a thought several community members, including Planning Commissioner Cesar Cervantes and Human Resources Commissioner Fred Sykes rushed to his aid. Fire Chief Paul Segalla administered CPR and used one of the City's portable defibrillators to help save him. Within three minutes, the city's paramedics arrived and took Bill to the hospital, where he is now recovering.
I'd also like to commend Dana Sykes for calling Bill's wife to ask for his medical history, and my colleague, Councilman Mike Touhey, for helping to arrange his wife's arrival to the hospital.
When I got to the hospital last night, Bill's wife, Izzy, said doctors told her the efforts of the Fire and Police departments, as well as those of the community members, had saved Bill's life.
I have always boasted that we have the best public safety personnel in the San Gabriel Valley, and last night proved it. There is no greater joy I have than knowing that when there is a crisis, we can come together, put our differences aside, and focus on what really matters: The lives and well-being of the people who make up this special city.
I'd like to wish my friend a speedy recovery and I pray that he and his wonderful family stay strong through this tough time.
It is the Watcher's understanding that this is the third time someone had had a heart attack inside the West Covina Council Chambers, in memory, at least. In 1992, a 69-year-old woman had a heart attack after complaining about Athens; and the other was just a couple years ago when a man was appealing to the Planning Commission regarding his home.Also, I also heard from a faithful reader that meeting staple and Senior Citizens Commissioner Royall Brown (Aroma Drive) suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized last week.
These incidents beg the question: Is City Hall hazardous to your health? My intention is definitely not to make light of these horrible events. I am posing a question that I think will make everyone else think. Are you taking care of yourself? Are you so involved in the City Hall process you are practically drowning in it? Are you a staffer -- or a councilmember -- who sometimes feels so overwhelmed by your work you feel it physically?
Readers, gadflies, City Staff, City Council: What's your outlet? How do you take care of yourself amid the stress? That is the question I pose to you, and I hope to have a nice, healthy discussion sharing ideas and suggestions.