Two first responders help save Lucedale mayor's life

LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) - Lucedale mayor Doug Lee could go home from the hospital as soon as Friday. Lee suffered a heart attack Monday afternoon and is recovering at Singing River Hospital. A statement from the mayor's wife said surgery to implant a defibrillator went very well Wednesday morning.

Pat Lee also said the community support and love shown her husband has been a blessing.

Among those on the Lee's thank you list are a police officer and volunteer firefighter who helped save the mayor's life.

Lucedale Police officer Joe Apker's life saving techniques were put to test Monday when he got a call that the mayor had collapsed in Dollar General's parking lot.

"As I pulled up and got out of my car, I saw the mayor laying on the ground."

The officer said he and another person at the store immediately began performing CPR.

"The mayor had a discoloration of blue, so I can tell that he was not having any air in him and at that point CPR was needed. I was nervous. I am not going to lie to you, I was scared to death. We just did what we had to do," Apker said.

Rocky Creek Volunteer Fireman David Smith showed up a few minutes later and had no idea it was the mayor needing help.

"When I get on scene, a lot of times I am not trying to figure out who somebody is. I am just trying to figure out what I need to do," said Smith.

Smith said the mayor was steadily losing his pulse in the parking lot. So, he pulled a defibrillator machine out of his truck and gave him a lifesaving shock.

"That seemed to get his heart going again. We were all happy about that," said Smith about the mayor.

The reason why the defibrillator was in the back of Smith's vehicle is the George County Regional Health System received a grant to buy several of them for area fire departments.

"We know they are an asset to the first responders to have to save lives," George County Fire Coordinator Lorraine Howell said.

The first responders who saved the mayor's life don't want any praise. They're just relieved they were prepared and trained.

"The CPR training is something everybody has to get every two years. So, I would advise anyone, whether a parent or whatever it may be, to take a CPR class," said Smith.

The mayor's health is now is the main focus for folks in town.

"Continue to pray for his speedy recovery, and I hope he is back in office soon," Apker said.

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