DeSoto Council recognizes Heroes of Christmas Eve Miracle

group of law enforcement officers

During Monday evening’s DeSoto City Council Special Meeting, DeSoto Mayor Rachel L. Proctor and Fire Chief Bryan Southard handed out life-saving awards to DeSoto and Cedar Hill First Responders and a young DeSoto resident who performed nothing less than a “Christmas Miracle.”

DeSoto Fire Chief Southard chronically recounted this life-saving story for those in attendance, and you can view his account in the video available at Box.Com.

On Christmas Eve afternoon, 2023, an elderly female DeSoto resident fell ill, lost consciousness, her heart stopped, and she also stopped breathing. She was clinically dead. Her family dialed 9-1-1 and reached the DeSoto-based Southwest Regional Communications Center (SWRCC), which serves the cities of DeSoto, Cedar Hill, and Duncanville. The SWRCC Dispatcher Sydney Hernandez, with assistance from colleagues Tricia McLean and Monica Shepperd, provided the woman’s grandson, Grant Ward, with CPR instructions, and he was able to administer CPR until a DeSoto Fire unit arrived on site.

The DeSoto and Cedar Hill Fire Departments routinely work together to respond to emergencies in either city, depending on the proximity of the closest available crew to an emergency. Mayor Rachel L. Proctor observed prior to Monday’s Council Meeting, “One of the big reasons for our City’s success is the strong partnerships that DeSoto has with our Best Southwest neighbors. When we need to make improvements that benefit our area, it lets us work together as one big city to leverage our resources and amplify our voice. But during an emergency, it allows us to seamlessly respond, which saves precious time and, in this case, a very precious life.”

The DeSoto Fire unit took over performing CPR from the grandson and employed other life-saving measures that restored the woman’s pulse and allowed her to begin breathing on her own.  DeSoto Firefighters Weston White, Alvin Skelton, and Kelton Mansfield, who are also paramedics, kept up their life-saving efforts for eight minutes until a Cedar Hill Fire Department Ambulance was able to arrive on the scene, maintain the woman’s pulse and breathing and transport her to the hospital.

The Firefighter Paramedics present from Cedar Hill were Tyler Glass and Hunter Southard, who is also the son of DeSoto Fire Chief Bryan Southard.  Said Chief Southard, “This life-saving action was a total team effort from the guidance of SWRCC’s dispatchers who walked the patient’s grandson through the critical CPR response steps to the advanced life-support actions by the DeSoto Fire Crew, which is crossed-trained as paramedics which brought our patient back to life, to the emergency follow-up and transport to the hospital by the Cedar Hill Fire Department ambulance crew which I am very proud to say included my son Hunter. This incredible teamwork allowed us to give a family back their beloved matriarch in time for one of the most joyous days of the year.”

While the woman who was saved on Christmas Eve was not in attendance at Monday’s Special City Council Meeting, nor was her grandson, her son was on hand to represent the family and accept the Grandson’s award.

The Managing Director of the Southwest Regional Communications Center (SWRCC), Tamara Bell, wanted to stress the important role of her dispatchers. “An incident like this one shows why the SWRCC’s dispatchers are considered to be first responders and illustrates the critical role that they play in the region’s emergency response process. Because we work directly with the responding fire, police, and emergency medical units for the cities of DeSoto, Cedar Hill, and Duncanville, our ability to know who is closest to the emergency and then direct them to it makes all the difference in the world.”