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Machinists honor trio who saved co-worker’s life

Tom Goff, who works for Boeing in Auburn, poses with three of his fellow Machinists Union members who helped save his life after he collapsed at work in December. From left: Kimberlee Hughes, Goff, Lesta Campbell and Harry Bangs. The Union has honored Hughes, Campbell and Bangs for their life-saving teamwork, and is nominating them for the annual Governor’s Life Saving Award. - Courtesy photo
Tom Goff, who works for Boeing in Auburn, poses with three of his fellow Machinists Union members who helped save his life after he collapsed at work in December. From left: Kimberlee Hughes, Goff, Lesta Campbell and Harry Bangs. The Union has honored Hughes, Campbell and Bangs for their life-saving teamwork, and is nominating them for the annual Governor’s Life Saving Award.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The Machinists Union recently honored three of its members who work for Boeing in Auburn for the quick-thinking teamwork that saved the life of a co-worker in December.

The three – Harry Bangs, Kimberlee Hughes and Lesta Campbell – have received certificates of appreciation from Machinists Union District Lodge 751, and are also being nominated by the union for the annual Governor’s Life Saving Award.

They’re being honored for an incident that took place on Dec. 2 at Boeing’s Auburn site. Bangs was returning to one of the buildings after hauling out a bag of trash, when he spotted co-worker Tom Goff, who had collapsed flat on his back just outside the door.

Bangs ran to the door, yelled inside for help, then ran to Goff’s side to check on him, only to discover that he had stopped breathing and had no pulse.

Hughes heard Bangs’ shouting and ran to help him. When she arrived, the two of them began doing CPR, Hughes handling the chest compressions and Bangs watching for signs of breathing or a heartbeat.

Meanwhile, Campbell called for paramedics and stayed on the line with the dispatcher until an emergency team arrived. That’s “the proper procedure,” she said, “but it was frustrating because I wanted to be out there in case there was something more I could do.”

“It seemed like it took hours for the emergency crew to arrive,” Bangs said, “but it was only minutes.”

The emergency team defibrillated Goff four times before his heart started beating, his co-workers said.

“It really shook us up,” Hughes said. “I remember it was so cold that day, that when Tom did start breathing, you could see his breath.”

“These members did exactly as they have been trained to do in an emergency,” said Donovan McLeod, a District 751 union steward who serves on the joint Machinist Union/Boeing Health and Safety Institute committee for the Boeing facilities in Auburn. “While most people have taken CPR training, no one really knows how they will react when faced with this kind of situation. They stayed calm, followed procedure and delivered proper care.”

The fact that they had immediately started CPR enhanced Goff’s recovery, union health and safety officers said. Goff spent a week in the hospital, recuperated at home and returned to work in mid-January.

The recognition for their efforts is nice, said Campbell, but “the best reward is that Tom is still here,” she said. “That was what we all wanted.”

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