Georgia Forestry Commission wildland firefighters are trained to act fast and that’s just what they did last month, while serving on a wildfire in California. When an elderly gentleman staying at the group’s Arcata hotel suffered a medical emergency, Hunter Hinson, Seth Holland, Jason Wilson and Jim Reynolds jumped into action.
“I was walking down the hall when I heard a woman screaming, ‘Help! Someone please help!’” said Hinson. Eighty-one year old Billie Reynolds was shouting out because her husband, 81 year old Lance Reynolds, was choking and couldn’t breathe. After calling 9-1-1, Hunter pounded on the door of his colleague, Seth Holland, who is a trained first responder.
“When I got there, the man was ‘gupping,’” said Holland, “taking his last breaths and turning blue.”
Holland said by that time, his colleague Jim Reynolds had pushed through a growing crowd to enter the room, with the man’s wife hysterical outside the motel room door.
“He’d quit breathing, so we moved him off the bed to the floor,” said Reynolds. “Jason tilted back the man’s head, which released his tongue. I held his feet and Seth started chest compressions.”
“I thought he was gone,” said Holland, “but all of a sudden he took a big gulp of air and came to a little bit. We laid him on his side, to open and ease the airway.”
Motel Sales Manager Suzanne Shirey was on the scene and remembers, “I walked into chaos! And I can’t even describe the relief I had when these guys just whooshed in and took over. I was so grateful.”
The stricken Reynolds was sitting up when the local emergency medical service team and police arrived to take him to the hospital.
Today, the Reynolds are back at home in Anderson, CA. While a firm diagnosis about the attack has yet to be determined, the Reynolds know for certain that they were fortunate that day.
“I was falling apart,” said Billie Reynolds, “I have never seen my husband have an attack like that, and then, there was an answer right there for us. We were so blessed.”
“I’m doing alright,” said Lance Reynolds, “and it was a miracle that we stayed at a motel with four men who knew what they were doing. I never got to talk to them, but they saved my life. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them.”
This month’s featured retiree is Pamela Howell, a program accountant paraprofessional with the Georgia Department of Public Health. Pamela, who began her career with the Secretary of State’s Office and served in various positions with the Department of Human Services, recently retired with 34 years of faithful service to the state of Georgia. Pamela has quite a green thumb and plans to spend more time in her garden.
After long careers of faithful service to the State of Georgia, please join us in extending congratulations and farewell to Pamela and all of Team Georgia’s April 2015, May 2015 and June 2015 Retirees!
Are you, or is someone you know, retiring soon? Send us a horizontal photo to feature here on this website!
Maggie Reeves has always looked for opportunities where she can add value in the public sector, and now as the Associate Director for the Center for State and Local Finance, the 29-year-old has embarked on a new challenge.
Reeves, who has a master’s degree in public administration from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, is responsible for implementing the strategic plan of the newly created center. Its mission: to develop the people and ideas for next generation public finance.
“I love being part of new initiatives, and this center is brand new,” she said. “In this job, there’s a lot of learning, but there’s also the real potential for doing great work that impacts the entire community.”
The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies is ranked No. 4 in the nation in public finance and budgeting by U.S. News & World Report. The center advances that with innovative policy research and executive education, which Reeves sees as critical.
Center staff talked with chief financial officers at the state and local level across Georgia, and they all emphasized the need for executive education for those moving into leadership roles in public finance. The center’s premier executive education program for chief financial officers is that answer, Reeves said.
“The program is filling a void in the public sector, and I think that’s such a great initiative,” Reeves said. I’m excited to help grow that.”
Additionally, Reeves is charged with building a stronger bridge between the nationally ranked faculty of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and the public finance community at the State and local level.
This is a new direction for the Indianapolis native, who moved to metro Atlanta in 2004 to attend Emory University. There she focused on women’s studies, and then accepted a full-time position at the Georgia Commission on Family Violence upon graduating.
She led media campaigns, analyzed policies, and performed research functions that helped change the statewide conversation surrounding domestic violence. Still, Reeves wanted to do more.
“I’m excited to get up in the morning when I know I have projects that seem like puzzles to solve,” she added.
In 2011, she enrolled in the graduate program at the Andrew Young School, where she boosted her skills in budgeting, finance and policy analysis. That education was vital in her next role at the Judicial Council of Georgia/Administrative Office of the Courts, where she spearheaded innovative projects.
One of her main tasks was creating the Georgia Courts Registrar, a cloud-based licensing system used by more than 5,000 judicial employees. She worked on everything from testing the technology to procurement, contract management, staff training and budgeting.
“She’s one of our star M.P.A. students,” said Carolyn Bourdeaux, director of the Center for State and Local Finance. “She brings a strong dedication to the public sector, and she has great instincts.”
Ultimately, Reeves said her goal is to help push the center toward success and provide the structure and processes that allow big ideas to flourish.
“Having the energy to look at how to do things better, more efficiently, and provide more value to the folks who are getting those services,” she said, “That, I think, is a huge piece of public service.”