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Saving a life

The Russellville City Council held its regular meeting Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. – and, among its business items, recognized a hero.

Russellville Police Officer Chad Sheffield received a Life Saver Award in a ceremony held to recognize his recent quick actions that were instrumental in saving the life of a toddler Aug. 11.

“About 3:39 p.m. that day, a call came in that a 2-year-old child was choking,” said Russellville Police Chief Joe Mansell. “As the fire department was en route, they called back and said the child was not breathing. Russellville Police Officer Chad Sheffield was also responding to the call and arrived on the scene first. He was able to get to the child and use back blows to dislodge what was in the child’s throat.

“If it hadn’t been for his quick actions, that child would probably not be alive today.”

Mansell said when the fire department arrived on the scene, Sheffield brought the child to them, and he was breathing again by that point. “His quick response made a difference in somebody’s life.”

“We were running as fast as we could to get there,” said Russellville Fire Captain Neil Willis. Willis said his team had just returned to the station from answering a different call. “We got on the truck immediately when the call came in. Thankfully, Officer Sheffield was closer and also responded to the call.

“Those two minutes made a difference, and Chad 100 percent saved that child’s life, and we’re very grateful.”

Mansell said police officers and firefighters do what they do out of love for the community. “We’re here to serve this community. I wake up at night, and some of the pictures in my head of what we’ve seen over the years come back. You never forget. I still remember the first fatality.

“We’re a small community, and that makes it even rougher because often when you respond to a wreck or a fire, it’s somebody you know,” Mansell said. “This type of job can’t be done by just anyone. I believe it’s a calling to do this kind of work.”

“I don’t think any of them expect awards,” added Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett, “because they’re just doing what they love, but it’s wonderful when we get to recognize the officers and firemen that do outstanding jobs like Officer Sheffield did.

“I just wish we could recognize every one of them,” he added, “but then we’d have to be here every day to appreciate everything that the police and firefighters do.”

In other business, Alejandro Wallace, having completed his firefighter certification, was inducted into the Russellville Fire Department during a swearing-in ceremony. Councilman Gary Cummings presented his firefighter pin.

The council also approved:

  • 2021 Bond Resolution, authorizing the mayor to enter into a bond purchase agreement with Joe Jolly and associates, subject to approval at the next council meeting.
  • Municipal Bond Insurance Commitment.
  • Contract with the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce.
  • Contract with NACOLG/Area Agency on Aging for Senior Center operations.
  • 3.14 percent raise for full-time and part-time city employees and updated pay scale.
  • Pay increase of $875 per month for EMTs, as well as an additional $450 per month for advanced EMTs.
  • General fund budget for fiscal year 2021-2022, with Councilman Jamie Harris abstaining.
  • Authorization for the city clerk to open a checking account at Valley State Bank for the American Rescue Plan Act and transfer $1,156,181.88 from the General Fund to said account.
  • Authorization of the Russellville Fire Department to apply for the Alabama Office of EMS Rural Provider Equipment Grant with a 75/25 match.
  • Authorized alcohol licenses for Yogi’s Ballpark, 27534 Highway 24 E.

The next regular meeting will be on Oct. 4.