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Lifesavers


Alert neighbors called heroes after quick response to medical emergency



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Therese Malinowski and Eleanor Grusczynski stand near one of the door hangers that alerted them to their neighbor's distress. Photo by Gabriel Ouzounian (click for larger version)
January 19, 2011 - Two women at the Heritage Place Senior Living Center on Atwater Street have saved a life.

On Sunday, Dec. 5, Eleanor Grusczynski and Therese Malinowski, two residents of the Heritage Place Living Center, happened upon a fellow resident Phyllis Waterstad who was experiencing a life threatening episode, and acted quickly to contact medical authorities. Their actions, according to the responding emergency services, saved the resident's life.

Grusczynski and Malinowski noticed something was wrong because of a system put in place by the facility's administrators around 20 years ago. The process revolves around small personalized tags put on resident's doorways when they go to sleep and removed when they wake in the door with a tag still hanging would indicate that member had experienced a problem during the night.

The two women noticed something was amiss when walking past their friend's door, and noticed that her tag was still in place on the door handle at 4 p.m., well after it should had been removed.

Because of their actions, Grusczynski and Malinowski were awarded Citizen Citation Awards by Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh, who called the duo heros.

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Eleanor Grusczynski and Therese Malinowski stand astride their neighbor Phyllis Waterstradt, whom their prompt actions saved. Photo by Gabriel Ouzounian (click for larger version)
"Therese and Eleanor were taking their daily walk outside the halls when they discovered a door hanger still remained on the door of someone who should have been up at that time," explained Narsh. "They immediately notified the EMS center and summoned emergency aid, and upon their arrival notified both woman that the victim would have surely died if not for their actions.

"The heroic and selfless acts of these two woman saved the life of a neighbor and friend and their continued diligence will likely continue to aid and save lives."

Then to the applause of the council, residents of Lake Orion Village, and visitors from the Heritage Place Senior Living Center, Narsh awarded the two women their awards.

The two women, defined by some of their fellow residents as "musketeers," were both honored to received the award, but said that they were just happy to have saved Waterstad.

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"We were walking past her door when we saw the tag which is supposed to be off at at least 11 o'clock," said Grusczyski. "When we got into the room we saw her lying on her bed breathing real hard and when we talked to her she didn't know anybody."

"I pulled her lifeline and sat with her while we waited for [emergency services]," said Malinowski. "I just sat with her and rubbed her hand, trying to comfort her, but I could tell that she was in really bad shape by the time they got here."

Both women have garnered a role as a safety team thanks not only to their actions during this most recent event, but also a number of prior occasions when they had helped an ailing peer.

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