Kass: There are heroes among us

Posted August 19, 2017 at 2:26 am

j PC supr Kingsley ambulance crew & Mark Marienau.tif

By Julie Ann Madden

“A serious accident at a Plymouth County road construction site July 5 — what could have been a tragedy turned out to have an okay ending,” Plymouth County Supervisors Chairman Don Kass told the audience filled with family, friends and coworkers of Plymouth County Engineering Tech Mark Marienau, who saved a construction worker’s life by performing CardioPulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

On behalf of the supervisors, Kass presented Marienau with a special Hero Award, recognizing him “for his timely life-saving CPR assistance that was instrumental in saving a life…it is with great appreciation for his resourcefulness and his ability to implement his safety training.”

“(You’re a) life-saving hero,” Kass told him. “You were in the right place at the right time. Thank you very much.”

Kass also thanked the Kingsley Ambulance Squad members Chad Kuchel, Barb Kuchel, Becky Sitzmann, Brandon Sitzmann, Jamie Sitzmann and Paul Huth who were the ambulance volunteers at the scene that morning.

“For your professionalism and diligence…we can’t say enough about you folks,” said Kass. “You are heroes among us.”

“We thank all our volunteers in Plymouth County,” he added. “We have great ambulance services and volunteers across our county, and we’re proud of all of you.”

“(Our construction worker) is home recuperating and is expected to make a full recovery,” Cedar Valley Project Manager Jason Hankins announced.

Cedar Valley construction crews were paving County Road C-60, just west of County Road K-42 that morning,” said Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe.

The men were watching the electrical wires while the trucks were backed in and dumped, he explained. They didn’t expect this worker, who is in his 20s, to get into the wires. He was using a 20 feet long bull float with an aluminum handle to finish the road edges. He’d run the float over an area, pick it up and move to the next area. When he lifted the bull float to move it, the handle hit the wires above.

“Thankfully, (Marienau) knew what to do,” said a Kingsley Ambulance volunteer. “Otherwise, the story wouldn’t have quite the happy ending.”

“It was a team effort,” said ambulance volunteer Jamie Sitzmann. “Without (Marienau) starting that team effort, we wouldn’t have been able to (save the man). It took all of us at the scene, the volunteers who showed up.”

It’s of major importance to start CPR to get these endings, said ambulance volunteer Barb Kuchel. “Out of all the times we do CPR, there’s not a lot of times where a witness has started CPR and completed that first link necessary to have the good outcome.”

“I saw what happened,” said Akron-Westfield Class of 2015 alum Jacob Neubrand who is a county summer intern. “It didn’t look promising at first. The way it came out was surprising.”

“It was a good experience,” added Neubrand, who had CPR training at A-W. “Now that I’ve seen it happen, I could definitely (do what Marienau did). Whether it would be the same outcome I don’t know.”

“(Marienau) reacted really fast,” said County Summer Intern Patrick Livermore of Le Mars.”Just ran over there and started helping. I’d like to think I could respond like that. I’m not sure. I’ve not been in the situation at a job.”

“I thought I’d witness somebody die that day,” said Marienau. “It turned out a lot better than that.”

Marienau received his CPR and First Aid refresher course through the county this past spring. After this life-saving event, Supervisors are offering the training to all county employees this fall.

“I’m not a hero,” said Marienau. “I just did what anybody else would do in that situation.”

He encourages all to take CPR training.

“It gives you the knowledge and confidence to do what’s needed in these situations,” said Marienau.

“My husband’s very humble,” said Marienau’s wife, Judy, who attended the award ceremony with their children, Henry and Elsie. “He just did the Christian thing to do. If someone is in need, needs help — if Mark sees something, he just steps up and does it.”

“He doesn’t feel like he should be recognized in any special way,” she said. “Just continue on with life.”

And that’s what Marienau was going to do — head to the next road project…shoot deck elevations for a bridge deck project and survey a culvert for a culvert replacement project.

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