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Jeff Heuchert

Jeff Heuchert

Stratford Parallel Transit driver Ralph Steckly and Diane Sims. Steckly's actions on Nov. 15, helping Sims after she fell into a coma, were recognized by the city Monday.

Stratford mobility bus driver recognized for life-saving actions

Jeff Heuchert, Gazette staff

The life-saving actions of local mobility bus driver haven’t gone unnoticed by the City of Stratford.

Ralph Steckly, who works for Stratford Parallel Transit, the city-run transportation service for persons with disabilities, was presented with a certificate of recognition and appreciation by city council Monday evening.

He was honoured for his quick response on Nov. 15 when he arrived at the Blake Street house of Diane Sims.

Steckly was picking up Sims to transport her to the hospital for a scheduled appointment. But when he approached the door he noticed Sims sitting inside slumped over in her wheelchair.

Thinking she had fallen asleep, he knocked on the door. But when she didn’t wake, he entered the home through a side door.

Sims’ breathing was shallow and her hands were blue. He immediately called 911, staying at the scene until paramedics and firefighters arrived.

He also contacted Sims’ husband to notify him of the situation.

Sims had fallen into a coma after the potassium levels in her blood where thrown out of whack due to the medication she was taking.

She has no recollection of the incident (she remained in a coma for over 24 hours), but she knows one thing for certain – “I would not be here if it hadn’t been for Ralph,” she said outside of the council chambers after Steckly received his certificate.

Steckly said a mobility bus driver will not typically enter a person’s home, but under the circumstances he faced anyone would have done the same.

He’s thankful Sims was within eyesight when he approached her front door, he added.

Steckly was presented with the certificate, which honours city employees who have shown not only dedication to their job but also care for their fellow citizens, by Mayor Dan Mathieson, community services committee member Paul Nickel and community services director  David St. Louis.

He thanked the city, which was notified about the incident by Sims, for the recognition but noted it was the emergency responders who deserve the credit.

“But,” he added jokingly, “I’m not going to give this back.”

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