Former Township Planner Gordon Hayward praises Peninsula Fire Department for Life-Saving Efforts, Photo by Jason Gillman
Former Township Planner Gordon Hayward with members of the Peninsula Fire Department | Jason Gillman Photo

At last night’s Peninsula Township Board meeting, former Township Planner Gordon Hayward praised the Peninsula Fire Department for their quick work after he called 911 during a health crisis.

In a letter to the Township Board, Hayward explained that on the morning of Jan. 17, 2019, he experienced pain in both arms, along with a heaviness in his chest. He suspected that he might be having a heart attack, called 911 and described his symptoms.

Help Support Old Mission Gazette - Click Here

The operator at Central Dispatch said an ambulance was on the way, and immediately suggested that Hayward chew and swallow aspirin tablets.

Hayward noted, “It was a great sense of relief when the ALS team arrived.”

The Peninsula Fire Department recently upgraded to Advanced Life Support (ALS) in October 2018, giving paramedics the ability to offer advanced medical care in the field, including intubation, IV fluids, pain and cardio meds, and vital heart monitoring and stabilization.

Hayward said, “They immediately began an evaluation of my condition in a calm and reassuring manner and determined that I needed to go to the hospital. Through direct communication with Munson Hospital, I was given a nitroglycerin tablet, and intravenous injections were started as soon as I was in the ambulance.”

He said that almost immediately, it was determined that his condition called for the STEMI Protocol, “and the balance of the trip was made with lights and siren.”

STEMI stands for “ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction,” a serious type of heart attack during which one of the heart’s major arteries is blocked. When the ambulance arrived at Munson, Hayward was met by a line of hospital personnel, including Cardiologist Dr. Steven Mast, and wheeled into the Cath Lab.

Hayward said he wanted to give the Township Board and the residents of Old Mission Peninsula the sequence of events to emphasize the value of the Advanced Life Support system that was implemented on the Peninsula last fall.

“The instant communications between the County Central Dispatch, Peninsula Township Fire Department, the Paramedics and EMTs at the fire station and Munson Hospital doctors was something to behold,” he said.

Hayward added that he wanted to specifically thank Peninsula Fire Department team members Paul Lipke, Bethany Wyman, Grant Blackmer and Mike Bryan for their professional and reassuring attitudes. Fire Chief Fred Gilstorff issued awards certificates to each of these team members during last night’s meeting.

“I am sure they will say that is what they do and that it is routine,” he said. “I am here to tell you that it was not routine for me.”

He also thanked the Peninsula Township Board and Fire Chief Fred Gilstorff for implementing ALS, as well as Peninsula Township voters for funding the training and updating of the ambulance to ALS standards.

“It is 17 miles from my house to Munson Hospital, and because of the ALS system, my treatment began in my kitchen,” said Hayward. “My message to you and the public is CALL 911. It could save your life. And it did.”

In another letter to Peninsula Fire Department EMT/Firefighter Grant Blackmer, Hayward’s daughter, Sheryl Williams, noted, “Your fast and professional response to his call to 911, as part of the Advanced Life Support program, your implementation of the STEMI protocol, and your speed in accessing and providing services very likely saved his life. Your efforts were critical in the seamless continuity of care dad received – beginning with the 911 call through the cardiac catherization and stenting.”

She said that her father was released from Munson Medical Center three days later with a prognosis of a full and nearly miraculous recovery. “This is due in no small part to your dedication and efforts on his behalf.”

At the meeting last night, Gilstorff thanked the Township Board for allowing him to move forward with the ALS upgrade.

“It’s nice to get good outcomes, and once again I applaud you for pushing this,” said Gilstorff. “When you hired me, it was your number one goal. We put it into place nine months later, and it works. And it will continue to work. And we will have stories like this many times going forward.”

We Need Your Support!

Old Mission Gazette is a reader-supported newspaper, and we need your ongoing support to keep delivering OMP news, history, photos, events and more. Owners Tim and Jane Boursaw are devoted to the Old Mission Peninsula community, and every contribution, big or small, is valuable. Click HERE to support Old Mission Gazette. Thank you!

Bay View Insurance in Traverse City Michigan


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Please enter an e-mail address

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.