2/13/2013 8:25:00 AM Jeffers man saves life of snowblowing neighbor
In 1985, 7,200 volts of electricity surged through the body of Curt Carter of Jeffers while he was working on power lines along County Road 13 for South Central Electric.
His partner, Kim Hansen, rescued Carter from the bucket in which he was working and began administering CPR until an ambulance arrived.
Carter spent time in a St. Paul burn center, but made a full recovery.
He is forever grateful to Hansen for saving his life.
However, little did Carter know that almost three decades later he would pass along the same life-saving deed.
On a cold, snowy Dec. 21 morning in Jeffers, the 78-year-old Carter was blowing out a neighbor's driveway. Just across the street, another neighbor, 83-year-old Milford Sinnamon, a retired 38-year veteran of The Toro Company in Windom, was blowing out the walkway of his neighbor.
"Curt's pretty much like me. These neighbors are all ladies who have lost their husbands and they need somebody to help them out," Milford says, explaining why two elderly men were blowing snow.
Meanwhile, Milford's wife, Ruth had just finished several tasks around the house and thought she should check to see if her husband needed some help at their neighbor's.
"So, I picked up my snow shovel and walked across the street," Ruth says. "I didn't see him, so I thought, 'He must be in the house, having coffee with Minnie (Elsing, their neighbor).' But his snow blower was up against the steps still running, and I thought, 'That's strange.' "
When she went to check on him, she found Milford laying on the sidewalk, his eyes rolled back in his head and not breathing.
He was suffering a massive cardiac arrest.
Minnie then came to the door and Ruth asked her to call the ambulance.
"But across the street was my angel," Ruth says.
Carter to the rescue
Ruth waved her arms and hollered across the street to Carter, who was blowing out his neighbor's driveway.
"I had just shut off the snow blower to pile up the snow so I could finish blowing, otherwise I never would have seen nor heard Ruth," Curt says, noting that at first he thought it was kids hollering.
Curt was an EMT many years ago and also maintained CPR certification during his 33 years with South Central Electric. Until the morning of Dec. 21, he had never had to use that training.
He ran to Ruth's and Milford's aid and knew when he got there he would need to start CPR. However, he admits it had been years since he had administered the lifesaving procedure and wasn't sure he would remember the protocol. But it apparently was like riding a bike.
"It came right back," Curt says.
For the next 20 to 25 minutes he did CPR on Milford awaiting the arrival of Jeffers' First Responders, who had been delayed.
But when they arrived, Curt, who was physically spent, turned over duties to the First Responders, who rushed him to Windom. Milford was then airlifted to Sanford Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls.
"It was a long time," Curt says with a sigh of relief. "But I had made up my mind, 'I'm not quitting until the ambulance gets here and takes him away.' That was the way it was going to be."
And what did Curt do when his 25 minutes of lifesaving were completed?
"I finished up at the neighbor blowing out her driveway, then I came home and said to Gerry, 'You know, I brought Slim (Milford's nickname) back," Curt recalls. "Then I had coffee and finished blowing the snow."
All in a morning's work.
For much more on their story, see the Faith & Family page in the Feb. 13 issue of the Cottonwood County Citizen on newsstands today.