Batavia officials recognize bystander who helped elderly man injured on steps near Depot Pond

The Jeffery D. Schielke Government Center in Batavia.

The Batavia City Council at its Aug. 21 meeting recognized a North Aurora man for assisting an elderly man who was injured on the Depot Pond stairs.

“On May 23, 2023, James Laughead of North Aurora assisted a man who had fallen down the steps over by the Depot Pond,” Batavia Fire Chief Craig Hansen said. “James rushed to assist the man who appeared to be bleeding from wounds on his head and arm and was in severe pain.”

Hansen said Laughead called 911 and sat with the 80-year-old man until first responders arrived to take him to the hospital.

“James, on behalf of the citizens of Batavia, we want to thank you for your quick response in this emergency and also for just being a good public citizen,” Hansen said.

Batavia Mayor Jeffery Schielke presented Laughead with a certificate of recognition.

“So oftentimes we hear of situations where people do get hurt or fall or are injured and for whatever reason they can’t get anybody’s attention,” Scheilke said. “It’s really good to hear that your example was done and that we can publicize it and let the rest of the world know that when something like this happens, they should follow in your example and your lead.

“Your example has hopefully called out to others to open their eyes and see what’s going on,” Schielke said.

The City Council also recognized firefighter and paramedic Chris LaFleur, who assisted a neighbor who was having a heart attack while LaFleur was off duty.

“We had just implemented a new system that allowed our calls to page out on our phones,” Hansen said. “Chris noticed [the call] cross his phone and it happened to be for someone in his neighborhood who was in cardiac arrest in his front yard.”

LaFleur ran to the neighbor’s home. The neighbor was in full cardiac arrest and LaFleur began to perform CPR, Hansen said.

“He did CPR on this person until additional emergency medical crews arrived,” he said. “They were immediately able to defibrillate this individual who then started to recover.”

Hansen said the victim was taken to the hospital for additional care.

“You certainly have risen to the occasion and have become a shining example for others to follow,” Schielke said.

Also recognized at the meeting were Batavia Fire Department Deputy Chief John Lucas, Battalion Chief Mark Cwinski and their crew for assisting a woman in labor at her home near Batavia Fire Station One.

“This dispatch was for a person in labor and at the time Deputy Chief Lucas, being the operations chief, was aware that our station one crews were already committed on another call,” Hansen said. “Realizing that, Deputy Chief Lucas also met with [Battalion] Chief Mark Cwinski and then immediately ran over to the home.”

Hansen said Cwinski arrived at the home shortly after Lucas after retrieving a truck with equipment.

“Deputy Lucas was able to get downstairs where the individual was already active in labor just in time to deliver the baby,” Hansen said. “That’s something that really is a career thing for most firefighters.”

Hansen said it is tradition for crews to put stickers of storks on the vehicles of responders who have helped deliver newborns.