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AED Bequest Provides Safety Net for Belmont County Seniors

December 5, 2012
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Thanks to a generous bequest from the Gasaway estate, all 10 senior centers in Belmont County are now equipped with automated external defibrillators.

The American Heart Association administered a grant on behalf of the estate of Virginia L. Gasaway, a local resident who through her will donated $15,000 to the local community to be used for cardiac care and treatment. The grant was established by the American Heart Association and was made available to organizations in Belmont County that were interested in applying and that could fulfill Gasaway's wishes.

Jack Regis Jr., budget officer at the Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services and chief of the Martins Ferry Fire Department, found out about the grant through the fire department. He applied for it last year on behalf of Senior Services of Belmont County, an agency that operates under the umbrella of the Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services.

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Senior centers in Belmont County are all equipped with automated external defibrillators, thanks to a donation made through the will of local resident Virginia Gasaway. The county Department of Job and Family Services secured a grant through the American Heart Association on behalf of the Gasaway estate, and now all 10 senior centers throughout the county have life-saving AEDs. Displaying one of the new LifePak AEDs at the Martins Ferry Senior Center are, from left, Linda Sadosky, center coordinator; Jack Regis Jr., budget officer with Job and Family Services and Senior Services of Belmont County; and center members Carole Valentine and Mary Ann Laurnoff.

The new Lifepak CR+ automated external defibrillators in Belmont County’s senior centers are easy to use and compatible with equipment used by the majority of emergency squads throughout the county.

The county agency was subsequently notified that it had been awarded the grant and a total of 10 Lifepak AEDs were purchased, along with 10 wall-mounted security cabinets for them. Because the agency is a governmental entity, the AEDs were able to be purchased for $1,395 each - a significant discount from the retail price for these units.

Officials expressed their gratitude to the Gasaway family and the American Heart Association, noting that the availability of AED devices in the senior centers was a great addition and an important one for the well-being of the senior center members, a group that continues to grow in numbers within the expanding program in Belmont County.

"In the case of cardiac arrest, availability of an AED improves chances of survival," Regis said. "These particular devices are compatible with equipment that most of Belmont County's emergency squads are working with."

The senior center directors and drivers are all trained in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and in the use of the AEDs, Regis added.

"We're going to offer refresher courses for anyone new to the centers," he said. "Senior center members may take the course on a volunteer basis, too."

The Belmont County commissioners contributed $782.40 through senior services levy funds to help cover the cost of the total purchase - a small investment for a tremendous return on this valuable, life-saving equipment, officials said.

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