When Clinton County Sheriff Rich Kelly was elected, one of his goals was to have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in each Clinton County Sheriff’s Office vehicle and in various locations throughout the facility.

On Thursday, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office invited media and donors to its training room for a presentation on the acceptance of 34 AEDs that were funded through “Project AED.”

“Every vehicle that leaves this building will have the ability to have that life-saving device in the car,” Sheriff Kelly said. “From personal experience and 25 years on the Indiana State Police, I did use my AED, and it was on my own mom. So, that makes a big difference. You have that ability to save your own family’s life and, also, it will be in our community at baseball games, at basketball games, at football games, at soccer matches, out at the Moose (Lodge), at the VFW, at the American Legion. It is going to be everywhere where it needs to be because it is going to be right there with those officers who are out there working.

“We have take-home vehicles,” Kelly continued. “Our officers are going to be able to respond when they hear something on the radio whether they are on duty or they are off duty. The ability to put that equipment in those vehicles is going to be a tremendous asset to Clinton County, to the city, and to Center Township that also participated in the fund raising. These are going to be in every community. They are going to be everywhere. Our officers, typically, are the first ones there, out in the county and even here in the city sometimes when it is happening close.”

Sheriff Kelly introduced Troy Pflugner, regional sales manager for Zoll Medical, who then demonstrated for those in attendance how the life-saving devices are used.

“We had met through the (Indiana) Sheriff’s Association,” Pflugner said. “He and Ashley had approached me and said, ‘Hey, this is something we had as state police officers. Now, we are elected to the Sheriff’s Office, and we want to make sure that every deputy in the county has it.’

“He proactively came to me,” Pflugner added. “We just had that platform available through the ISA.”

Pflugner said that a quick response time is critical for those who are experiencing cardiac arrest.

“If they are in sudden cardiac arrest, time becomes muscle,” he said. “So, it is up to a 10 percent decrease in the chance of living with every minute … We can help save lives by getting there first.”

Donations to Project AED were secured through the fundraising efforts of Matron Ashley Kelly and administrative assistants Morgan Hutsell and Melody Knox.

“We were able to use different funds that don’t come from our taxpayers,” Sheriff Kelly said. “This is something that I just never thought we could get done. It was a difficult process, and I have to give my staff credit.”

Financial contributors who attended the presentation included Moose Lodge Administrator Dan Carr, VFW Secretary and Manager Rhonda Plumback, VFW Commander James Scering, American Legion Commander Mike Kemmerer and Quality Correctional Care Nurse Miriam Howe.

“We are trying to support all of our institutions in Clinton County,” Scering said. “A lot of these (law enforcement officers) are veterans, and they have supported us off and on throughout the years. We just thought to help the community and the Sheriff’s Department, we hopefully donated enough to purchase two of them. We supply them with their flags, and we are going to put a mural on the side of our VFW building about how we support the local Sheriff, the local police and the firefighters.”

Project AED’s complete list of sponsors includes VFW Post 1110, Eagles Lodge 976, Kinsler Dentist, NHK, Moose Lodge #7, Quality Correctional Care, Combined Public Communication, Zachary’s Confections, Hayden Consulting, Ken and Sandy Meyer, Shoup’s Catering, AAA Plumbing, Morrison & Robbins, Lidester’s Backhoe, Dozing and Backhoe Service Inc., American Legion Post 12, IFCU, Center Township Trustee, and Cintas.

Also attending the presentation were Merit Board member Jannine Rule, Classification Robin Ford, Administrative Assistants Morgan Hutsell and Melody Knox, Matron Ashley Kelly, Chief Deputy Mayfield, Deputy Light, Deputy West, Deputy Tillman, Detective Sergeant Feterick, Detective Lieutenant Roudebush and Detective Lieutenant Blacker.

“We can’t begin to express how grateful we are to have such amazing community support,” Sheriff Kelly said. “These medical devices will save lives in our county, there is no doubt. AEDs should be essential equipment in every agency across our country. Thank you to all of our supporters who contributed to our program. We are excited to get everyone trained and will have these issued out very soon.

“When we are able to get these out in our community, into every corner from Fickle to Pickard, to Michigantown, Colfax and all of our outer areas, we are going to be heads and heels above,” Kelly added. “Our officers are going to get the training and be able to provide the service to keep people stable and save lives. It is just something that I think we are obligated to get out there.”

Pflugner recommends to any person interested in raising money to help place AEDs in more law enforcement vehicles across the state to visit boltfortheheart.com.

“All the proceeds go to purchasing AEDs and putting them in Sheriff’s vehicles in Indiana,” Pflunger said.