Township resident Carol Barker stands with firefighters in front of a fire engine at Station No. 4 on Romeo Plank Road.

Township resident Carol Barker stands with firefighters in front of a fire engine at Station No. 4 on Romeo Plank Road.

Photo by Nick Mordowanec

Donation of lifesaving device continues to draw accolades

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published November 12, 2018


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — It’s been more than three months since Clinton Township resident Carol Barker stood in front of the Clinton Township Board of Trustees and surprised them all with an envelope containing a $16,000 check.

The money was for a LUCAS 3 chest compression device to be used by the Clinton Township Fire Department, to be utilized during emergency situations involving cardiac arrest.

The device itself is barely bigger than a backpack, containing a suction cup and some plastic parts. But its benefits are profound, as emergency personnel can realistically perform continuous compressions for up to three consecutive hours, either stationary or on the go.

On Oct. 25, fire officials invited Barker to see and touch firsthand the device that was made possible by her generosity. Firefighters even offered her lunch at Station No. 4, located on Romeo Plank Road, prior to allowing her to place stickers of ownership on the device, which read: “Property of the Clinton Township Fire Department, graciously donated by Carol Barker, in loving memory of Marlin Barker.” Marlin was her husband who died.

Throughout the past few months, Barker has become a local hero of sorts. Individuals on social media have expressed their sentiments toward her, much of which she had no idea. She said she didn’t even tell her sister about her good deed until one month after the fact, when she cut out a newspaper article and mailed it to her.

“I told very few people,” Barker said Oct. 25. “It just felt like something was telling me to do it.”

Clinton Township Battalion Chief Paul Brouwer Jr. said this is just another chapter in the saga of the generosity of Clinton Township residents, in terms of supporting police officers and firefighters and expressing themselves at the ballot box for millages.

He said the reality is that budgets are limited and some priorities trump others, even if devices like the LUCAS 3 have already been proven to save lives on a near-daily basis.

“People like that in our township is not uncommon; we’ve got an unbelievable group of people here. … This lady is an angel, and her legacy will be on the case that holds that device, forever,” Brouwer said. “I think everyone owes her a thank-you — not just the firemen, but everybody in the community should say thanks to this lady. It’s an incredible act of generosity, putting something bigger than herself out there.”

Due to Barker’s good will, now four of five township fire stations possess a LUCAS 3 device. Other donors include the Clinton Township Kiwanis Club and the now disbanded North Clinton Township Kiwanis. The Board of Trustees also approved a purchase from its general fund.

Money is already being raised for a fifth device — which makes the department the envy of others throughout Macomb County.

Fire Chief Tim Duncan said the device really makes a difference when time is of the essence, such as in senior complexes, where it could take 3 to 5 minutes to remove an individual from a building while still providing CPR.

“Like I told (Barker), the one really, really great thing about that item is that it does make a difference,” Duncan said. “It has already saved lives in the community.

“I think that touched her a little bit, because you don’t really think about it, I don’t think she allows herself to think about that type of thing, but that’s a level of gift she supplied to us and the whole community.”

Clinton Township EMS Chief John Gallagher has noticed nationally that the survivability of cardiac arrest situations depend on devices such as these — notably in hard-to-access situations that require patients being mobilized on stretchers.

He said fire departments near and far are looking for funding for devices like this because “they see the clinical difference-maker this machine really is.”

“The clinical hallmark of a successful resuscitative effort is high-quality CPR, uninterrupted,” Gallagher said. “This machine is a godsend for this type of situation.”

Barker said that if others want to heap praise on her, she’s OK with that. It took her weeks to even let people know of her donation via Facebook, drawing a flood of complimentary reactions.

“It just kind of reinforces my feeling that this was the right thing to do, and I’m glad so many people see it that way because they appreciate it too,” she said. “It can help them too. I never thought about the repercussions afterward. I just thought it was needed.”