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Townsend police officers commended for saving man’s life

Officers Michael Marchand, left, and Jeffrey Giles.

TOWNSEND – A 52-year old man who suffered a heart attack while driving through town on Friday evening, Oct. 30, is alive today thanks to two police officers whose quick thinking, decisive action and teamwork were described in a recent letter to the Board of Selectmen, read into the record just days ago.

Officers Jeffrey Giles and Michael Marchand did what they’ve been trained to do, according to Police Chief James Sartell, which includes helping others under difficult and stressful circumstances, and in this case, literally at a moment’s notice.

Their “exemplary” actions saved the man’s life, he said.

Formal letters of commendation/life-saving awards are in the works, Sartell told the Nashoba Valley Voice.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the officers and of the teamwork displayed,” he said.

Marchand and Giles thought they were responding to a motor vehicle crash when they found the man “unresponsive” inside his vehicle. He had pulled off the road to call E-911, the chief said.

Sartell said the man was in cardiac arrest and the two officers – knowing how crucial those first few moments are to the victim’s survival, “sprang into action,” to administer CPR and other medical procedures.

Due to the pandemic, P.P.E., protective gear such as masks, face shields and gloves, are now part of the on-board tool box officers carry in their cruisers, he said.

The officers, who had been anticipating an accident scene, found it was a medical emergency instead and had to quickly switch gears, suit up and keep Covid-19 protocols in mind as tended to the motorist.

In his letter to selectmen, the chief described the officer’s quick actions, which the emergency medical personnel who arrived a short time later called “high performance, high quality” care.

The officers “leaped into action” to help the man, Sartell said. “They performed CPR and cared for him until paramedics arrived.”

Sartell cited the officers’ “quick thinking, action” and effective training and praised them for their “selfless and heroic actions” on behalf of a citizen. “This shows what a true community looks like,” he said. “I’m proud to work with people of their caliber.”

The man, who police did not identify, lives in the area and works in town, Sartell said.

The story has a happy ending. The man recovered and is doing well. In fact, he came into the police station to thank the officers in person, Sartell said.