Three wars, three veterans, one camaraderie
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) is an American veterans organization providing financial, social, and emotional support to members of the armed forces, veterans, and their dependents.
The VFW works to secure the rights of veterans who have served in a war on foreign soil.
The members of the Alexandria VFW have each other’s backs through everything they do, including when it comes to a medical emergency.
During the Marine Corps League meeting on July 1 at the VFW, World War II Veteran Bruce Brown was delivering the pagemaster reports when he suffered from heart failure.
“It looked like he had just missed his chair,” said the new Douglas County Veterans Service Officer Josh Brummond. “But he had actually fainted.”
Brummond, a veteran who served two tours to Iraq, rushed to Brown’s side. He administered the sternum rub and tried to bring Brown back.
“I could see him going away,” Brummond recalled. “He started changing colors and his eyes rolled back.”
Having been trained in CPR since his senior year of high school and through his 15 years in the military, Brummond took action and administered CPR.
“I’ve been trained to take charge and make stuff happen,” he said. “I blacked out, my training took over. It felt like one minute but it was probably five.”
After a few rounds of compressions, another man stepped forward and continued compressions while Brummond worked on Brown’s airway.
Once 911 was called, an officer with an automated external defibrillator (AED) responded to the scene within minutes. Brown received a shock and Brummond continued compressions until an ambulance arrived.
Brown was transferred to the veteran’s hospital in St. Cloud where he recovered for 11 days and received a new pacemaker and defibrillator. He is now recovering at home with his wife, Dolly.
When it was time for Brown to be discharged, though, the couple was faced with another problem.
“I’m 81,” Dolly said. “I don’t like to drive very far.” She called Douglas County Veterans Services, where Brummond offered help a second time.
“I have a couple volunteer drivers who drive veterans down to the St. Cloud VA hospital,” he explained. He called up one of the volunteers, a Vietnam vet in the area, and Dolly was picked up and on her way to bring her husband home.
Dolly sang the praises of this service and said she is happy that Brown has returned home and is slowly, but surely, getting back to normal.
“It is difficult to find the proper words to express my gratitude to everyone that contributed to my life saving treatment,” Brown said. “I have been told that the rapid response by those at the meeting and the emergency team made it possible for me to recover without any heart or brain damage.”
Brown sincerely thanks every person that came to his aide and hopes that the public can see the great services that are available for veterans in the county.