Sheriff’s office recognizes man for life-saving actions

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Nov 13, 2013 - 12:34 PM

Photo: Gloucester resident Harry Heywood, left, suffered a massive heart attack while working on a job site this past summer and Joe Whitcomb, center, was credited with saving his life. The two men are shown with Gloucester Sheriff Darrell Warren who presented Whitcomb with a Civilian Lifesaving Award last Wednesday night in the colonial courthouse. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Gloucester resident Harry Heywood, left, suffered a massive heart attack while working on a job site this past summer and Joe Whitcomb, center, was credited with saving his life. The two men are shown with Gloucester Sheriff Darrell Warren who presented Whitcomb with a Civilian Lifesaving Award last Wednesday night in the colonial courthouse. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

This past June, Gloucester resident Harry Heywood, 59, encountered one of the scariest times of his life, and considers it an act of God that his guardian angel was in the right place at the right time on that fateful day.

A building contractor, Heywood had three job sites waiting for him that day. One customer in particular needed some special attention on his property, so Heywood chose to go to the Ark Road site to get that job completed first.

That morning, Heywood suffered a massive heart attack on the site and would have died if not for the quick actions of another worker at the house.

Joe Whitcomb, a Verizon employee, was servicing phone lines inside and outside at the same residence when he noticed Heywood lying motionless on the ground, according to Gloucester Sheriff Darrell Warren. "Without hesitation, just as we are all trained, Mr. Whitcomb alerted the homeowner to call 911 and immediately initiated CPR," Warren said.

Last Wednesday, Whitcomb was publically recognized before the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors in the colonial courthouse with a Civilian Lifesaving Award from Warren.

"Ladies and gentlemen, public safety and first responders have an opportunity each day to make a difference in someone’s life," Warren said. "Civilians, on the other hand, may not ever have the opportunity, and if they do, they can only hope that they can act swiftly and appropriately under the circumstances.

"In what seemed like an eternity, according to Mr. Whitcomb, and I can imagine it was, he continued CPR for nearly five minutes until members of the sheriff’s office and Gloucester Volunteer Fire and Rescue arrived on the scene to take over," Warren added.