Ski patrollers honored for saving 81-year-old |

Ski patrollers honored for saving 81-year-old

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune/ Tahoe-Douglas Fire Chief Guy LeFever, left, congratulates Daniel Boyer, right, and Chip Morill, second from left, both with the Heavenly Ski Patrol, for their efforts in saving the life of Crawford Bown, center, on Monday.

The six children, 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren of one lucky Carson City man sent a big thank-you Monday to two Heavenly Mountain Resort ski patrollers.

On Jan. 23, patrollers Chip Morrill and Daniel Boyer responded to a call that an 81-year-old skier had collapsed in their parking lot. When they arrived, an emergency room nurse and doctor from Baton Rouge, La., were attending to the unconscious man.

Boyer came to the scene prepared. He had an electric shock machine called an automated external defibrillator, which helped to restart Crawford Bown’s heart.

“The gift of life is a treasure and words can’t express my gratitude,” Bown said Monday after the two patrollers received an award from the Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District.

Defibrillators are set up so that anyone can use them, Morrill said. They speak electronic voice directions to the user and sense electric pulses in the patient to determine when and how much shock to deliver. The machines, the size of a large lunchbox, are appearing in more businesses and homes each year.

Heart attacks kill 250,000 Americans a year, according to the American Heart Association. But 50,000 of those lives could be saved each year if defibrillators were more widely distributed, according to their Web site at

“While cardiopulmonary resuscitation can keep oxygenated blood flowing to the body’s vital organs, only an electric shock can help reset the heart to its normal rhythm and save the person’s life,” says the Web site.

Fire chief Guy LeFever told Boyer and Morrill he was very proud of them.

“Individuals like you truly do save lives,” he said.

Morrill has been patrolling for 13 seasons at Heavenly, while this was Boyer’s first year. Both are certified EMTs.

Bown received a pacemaker after the incident and is cleared to ski again by his doctors.

Vacationers West Blocker and Tara Ragsdale, who were first on the scene, are likely back to work in their emergency room in Baton Rouge.

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