Lanesborough Police given the gift of life

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LANESBOROUGH — Two new automated external defibrillators gifted to Lanesborough Police Department on Wednesday will save lives in situations where every minute counts.

That was the message from Ryan T. Smith, executive director of the Spirit of Blue Foundation, which donated the devices to the department.

Without the donations, worth roughly $4,000, Lanesborough might not have otherwise been able to purchase the needed devices.

"This is a beautiful town, but it's a little removed from a major metropolitan area," Smith said. "The ability to render care to [police officers] or residents here immediately is really key. In a cardiac arrest, time is of the essence."

Based in Chicago, Spirit of Blue travels around the country gifting needed equipment to police departments with the goal of "enhancement of officer safety and vitality throughout the law enforcement community by promoting public awareness for their protection and fulfilling safety equipment and training needs," according to the foundation website.

The organization recently gave riot gear to the Troy, N.Y., police department and several trauma kits to police in Monroe County, N.Y.

K-9s, bullet-proof vests, body armor, weapons and tactical gear and illumination equipment comprise just some of the other materials Spirit of Blue obtains for police all around the country.

Lanesborough Police Chief Timothy Sorrell said he applied to Spirit of Blue after first learning of the organization this year.

"It was the first time we applied and we were lucky enough to receive," Sorrell said. "The AEDs will most likely save a life one day, and we'll have the first responders of the police and fire departments, as well as the Spirit of Blue Foundation to thank for that."

The Dunkin' Donuts Baskin-Robbins Foundation and other nonprofits assisted Spirit of Blue in Wednesday's donation to Lanesborough and along with many others.

Lanesborough Police Sgt. Brad Lepicier said the AEDs will replace two older devices, which were suffering battery issues and not functioning properly.

"I've used them several times," Lepicier said. "We're the ones who get there first, and early CPR and defibrillation increases survival rates."

After notifying Lanesborough Police that they would receive the grant, Spirit of Blue permitted Sorrell to pick out the AEDs in a catalog, then purchased and shipped the items to town.

Contact Phil Demers at 413-496-6214.


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