Elderly man alive following woman's heroic actions

Man lucky to be alive thanks to womans quick actions

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - One woman was in the right place at the right time after an elderly Missouri man fell and nearly died.

According to an incident report, it happened Wednesday morning at the Blytheville Welcome Center, 5241 N. Interstate 55.

Employee Charlotte McFarland said she was working in the literature section when she noticed a man who appeared "shaky" and holding on to the pillars for balance.

She asked the man, later identified as 72-year-old Alton Mercer of St. Charles, MO if he was okay.

It was at that point she said Mercer fell. She said his eyes rolled and he did not respond to her questions.

McFarland called for another employee, Danece Burge who called 911.

"This is Danny here at the Arkansas Welcome Center out here on I-55," Burge said. "We had a gentleman fall down. We need an ambulance because we are having to do CPR on him."

Sheila Ward, who was working nearby, noticed the commotion and ran to the man.

According to the incident report, Ward and an Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department employee named Vickie Braum checked for a pulse and found none.

"It didn't look good at all," Ward said. "He was not breathing. He already turned blue and so we went ahead and initiated CPR."

Ward immediately began chest compressions while Braum blew into the man's mouth.

McFarland said that after 10 minutes, Ward "stopped compressions and blew one huge breath into his mouth and he coughed and started breathing on his own."

"After three breaths we got a nice cough and gurgle," Ward said.

An ambulance arrived at the scene and took Mercer to Great River Medical Center for further evaluation.

"Sheila Ward saved this man's life," McFarland said.

When Ward later checked on the man, his wife told her that he was alert and seemed to be doing okay.

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