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Fairlawn Council honors life-savers

4/18/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

From left, Mayor William Roth, Police Chief Kenneth Walsh and Fairlawn police officers Mark Schlegel, Eric Hendrickson and Steven Zagar are shown during the April 15 Fairlawn City Council meeting. Schlegel and Hendrickson are among a number of people who were commended by Council for their roles in saving Zagar’s life Dec. 8.
Photo: Sean Patrick
FAIRLAWN — City police officer Steven Zagar has a number of people to whom he is thankful for saving his life. On April 15, Fairlawn City Council officially went on record to thank those people for their actions.

During the meeting, Council unanimously approved a resolution “recognizing and commending” the following people: Fairlawn police officers Eric Hendrickson and Mark Schlegel; Dr. Sonny Bare; Bath Fire Department paramedic Steven Kamp; Bath Fire Chief Walt Hower, Bath Fire Lt. George Seifert and Steven Kamp, Tim Baker, Steve Schultz, Bob Motz, Geoff Kuzas, Matthew Beck, Joyce Antonino and Jeremy Emerson of the emergency service personnel and communication personnel of Bath Township; and Brian Abbott, Eric Boleman and retired firefighter Donald Zito of the Richfield Village Fire Department.

On Dec. 8, Zagar, Hendrickson and Schlegel — along with officers from Copley Township, Richfield Village, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office — participated in a motorized police escort to Revere High School to honor the return of Army Staff Sgt. Aaron Hale, a wounded soldier.

The resolution states: “After a large greeting outside Revere High School, the participating officers followed the crowd into the high school when officer Steven Zagar collapsed and quickly became nonresponsive … officers Hendrickson and Schlegel immediately attended to officer Zagar, along with paramedic Steven Kamp of the Bath Fire Department, by quickly administering CPR … Kamp took control of the situation and requested a defibrillator he retrieved out of the Fairlawn police officer’s automobile. [Kamp] directed administration of two electrical shocks to the chest. After the second shock was administered, officer Zagar’s heart started beating.”

While Zagar was given medical attention, Antonino, Beck and Emerson were called to dispatch a squad to the scene. Bare, who was in attendance at Hale’s homecoming event, volunteered to assist in Zagar’s emergency treatment and accompanied the officer to the hospital via ambulance.

Auxiliary support in the rescue was provided by Hower, Seifert, Baker, Schultz, Motz, Kuzas, Abbott, Boleman and Zito.

“I offer, on behalf of all members of the Fairlawn Police Department, our deepest gratitude and admiration for the professionalism and devotion to duty exhibited by this group,” said Fairlawn Police Chief Kenneth Walsh. “Steve could not be any more fortunate than he was to have people such as these in his corner. Our friend Steve is here today because of the collective effort of this group.”

Zagar, 52, said he has been told there is only a 3 percent survival rate for what happened to him.

“You have to claim your miracle. You have to claim your prize,” he said. “I’ve always had an attitude where I was grateful for everything, but now it’s at another level.”

On medical leave since Dec. 8, Zagar said he is in “wait-and-see” mode regarding where he goes from here.

“After 28 years, I’m OK with whatever happens,” he said. “It was a bitter pill to swallow at first that I might not be able to make it back. But I’m OK. It’s a great feeling to be a survivor. I got the gift of another life. What I do with it, that’s how I say thank you.”

Also during the meeting:

  • An ordinance amending the “duties and compensation of the director of law” in Fairlawn’s codified ordinances was approved by a 4-3 vote. Council members Russ Sharnsky (at large), Bryan Nace (Ward 3), Philip Brillhart (Ward 4) and James Butler (Ward 1) voted in favor of the change, while Susan Sullivan (Ward 5), Barbara Potts (Ward 2) and Kathleen Baum (Ward 6) voted against it.
    Roth said the ordinance changes the hourly rate for the city’s law director.
    “There has not been a change in the hourly rate for 13 years,” he said. “It goes from $100 to $125 an hour. The law director is paid [an annual stipend of $15,000] to attend certain meetings and draft legislation — things like that — and the rest of the stuff, legal work, is paid at an hourly rate. The amount of hours goes up and down through the years based on the amount of work involved.”
    Potts said her vote was not a reflection of the job being done by the city’s current law director, Ed Riegler, but she could not support a pay increase at this time.
    “This is a poor time of year to have this happen, with labor negotiations coming up,” said Potts.
    However, Roth countered that an increase is “something that should have been done years ago.”
    “I think it’s the right thing to do at this point,” he stated.
  • Council gave the first reading to an ordinance accepting the bid from Liberta Construction as “the lowest responsive and responsible bidder” for the city’s 2013 concrete slab replacement and storm water inlet repairs project.
    According to Roth, six companies picked up bid packages for the project, and five of those companies ended up submitting bids.
    “The engineer’s estimate [for the project] was $185,000,” he said. “The [bidding] range is from a high of $199,501 to a low of $150,000. The low bid is by Liberta Construction.”
  • Council unanimously passed a resolution acknowledging the week of April 14, 2013, as “public safety telecommunications week.”
    “Our dispatchers … are truly a needed part of our emergency services and a lot of times they go unsung, but I’d like to tell them that we appreciate them very much,” said Fire Chief Russ Hose.

The next Fairlawn City Council meeting is set for May 6 at 6:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road. The next Committee-of-the-Whole meeting is scheduled for April 29 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

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