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Tuscola Mayor honors Jordon Baird

Mayor Dan Kleiss, right, presents a plaque with a “key to the city” to Jerod Baird at Monday’s Tuscola City Council meeting. Baird is credited with saving the life of David Connour on June 17. Connour suffered a heart attack and Baird, who has a background in critical care, performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Photo by David Porter.

By David Porter
Tuscola Mayor Dan Kleiss gave a key to the city Monday night to Jordon Baird for his life-saving action June 17. 

“I really don’t think I deserve this,” Baird said as he stepped up to accept the honor. “I was doing what I was trained to do.”

Baird, who has a background in critical care nursing, was leaving his house, running uncharacteristically late. He said he noticed the builder next door was on his phone and waved to Baird. Baird said the two locked eyes and the man waved again making Baird think he wanted something. Baird noted that the man had recently built his house next door to the one going up.

Baird said he was running nearly an hour late but decided to stop. He left his truck running as he got out of it. He then noticed a man, David Connour, lying in the street behind a van. Baird sprang into action. Finding no pulse, he began administering CPR. 

An ambulance arrived about six minutes later. Baird said all they had been told was that there was a man having difficulty breathing. They didn’t know the man was clinically dead.

Baird said six minutes is a long time to perform CPR and that it is physically exhausting, especially in the 102 degree heat. The paramedics took over, but Baird stayed to help, going through their supplies for the items he knew would be needed. A defibrillator was used to shock Connour’s heart three times before loading him into the ambulance.

The next day, two of Connour’s relatives knocked on Baird’s door and asked him if he was the one who had performed CPR. He said he expected them to tell him that Connour had died. But he survived thanks to Baird’s quick action. In a few days, he was home recovering. 

“I was shocked,” Baird said. “I never saw someone turn around like this.”

Kleiss said Baird may feel like he was only doing his job. “That job was being a citizen” helping a fellow citizen. That kindness is “so important,” Kleiss said. “You were being the citizen of the day.”

The Council gave Baird a standing ovation following the presentation of the award.

Also Monday, the Council heard from Michael Griffin of Camargo, who asked permission to hold a vintage baseball game Aug. 6 at Ervin Park. Griffin wore an 1850s-era uniform and carried a bat and ball similar to what was used during that time period.

He said there are more than 200 teams nationally that stage baseball games using uniforms, rules and lingo from 1858-1870. The games are not competitive. There is no aggressive play allowed. There’s also no swearing, no spitting, no sliding and no gloves. A striker (not a batter) is out if the ball is caught in the air or on a single bounce. 

“We’re actors first,” Griffin said, “players second.” The event is intended to be entertaining and informational.

When asked which ball field he wanted to use, Griffin said they would play on the soccer field as modern baseball diamonds did not exist in the 1850s. “This is sandlot baseball but with adults.”

His team, based in Philo, is the Summit Station Signalmen. He said Philo was once known as Summit Station and the signalmen is a railroad reference. Most towns had adult sports teams 150 years ago, he said. “Tuscola had a professional team.” 

The Council approved the request. Games will start at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Aug. 6.

In other business, the Council approved a proposal from Applied Pavement Technology to assess all the streets in town at a cost of $49,168. Also approved was a lease with Illinois Central Railroad for land used at Ervin Park. Drew Hoel, city administrator, said the area is by the swimming pool where people park. The lease amount is $850 annually for five years, up from $750.

Also approved were: 

• Community Building leases to Jose Cantu and Fredy Moreno for wedding receptions in July and August;

• a pay request of $3,137.75 to Jim Crane for engineering services;

• a pay request of $87,500 to Birkey’s for a previously approved backhoe with trade-in;

• a change order with Donohue & Associates in the amount of $9,317 for Joint Water Agency work;

• another request from Donohue & Associates in the amount of $665; and

• rescheduling movie night downtown to July 29.

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