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Veteran saves veteran's life

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    Jerry Clapper. a van driver for the Medina County Veterans Services Office, was transporting a veteran who had been stung by a bee and went into cardiac arrest. Clapper's quick thinking saved the man's life. He is pictured with Medina County Commissioner Pat Geissman on Tuesday.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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    Five members of the Medina Fire Department and Life Support Team helped save the life of a veteran who had been stung by a bee. They were commended by Medina County commissioners Tuesday. From left are Commissioners Bill Hutson, Colleen Swedyk and Pat Geissman, Medina Fire Department Operations Capt. Steve Ingersol, paramedics Brandon Eckhardt and Becky Frantz, and EMT Dennis Basch.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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MEDINA — A Medina County Veterans Service Office van driver credits his military training and the ability to perform under duress as the reasons why acted to save a fellow veteran’s life.

Jerry Clapper was driving a Medina man to the Veterans Affairs office in Cleveland last Aug. 27 when the man, who asked not to be identified, was stung by a bee while in the van.

“He said, ‘Jerry, I can’t breathe,’ ” Clapper said Tuesday recounting the experience during the Medina County commissioners’ meeting.

The man quickly went into cardiac arrest.

Clapper, of Brunswick, was just leaving the veterans office at 210 Northland Drive.

He quickly turned around and took the man to Medina Fire Station 1, 300 W. Reagan Parkway. He arrived at 8:10 a.m.

There, paramedics and emergency medical technicians took over and started giving the man CPR before transporting him to Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital.

“The paramedics did the technical portion of saving his life,” Medina County Veterans’ Office Executive Director Ed Zackery said.

“(But Fire Department Operations Capt. Steve Ingersol) told me if they had taken him one more block, they probably would not have been able to save him.”

Five firefighters and paramedics with Life Support Team are also being credited with saving the man’s life.

They were Ingersol, also a paramedic, Paramedics Brandon Eckhardt and Becky Frantz, and EMTs Dennis Basch and Nick Lynes.

Medina County commissioners commended the group Tuesday for their heroic efforts.

Clapper, 72, said he was just doing his job.

“I wasn’t a hero,” he said. “I did what most people would do. The outcome was great.”

He said he went to visit the man the next day in Cleveland. He has since made a full recovery, but has to carry an EpiPen.

Clapper said he was a crew chief on a helicopter in 1968 and 1969 in Vietnam. He said his job was to pick up wounded soldiers.

Zackery said Clapper’s military background certainly helped in this situation.

“That’s what I would chalk it up to,” he said.

“For all he’s done in Vietnam, he reacted under pressure.”

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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