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Area residents deserve recognition

We’re glad members of Steubenville City Council recognized a couple of area residents whose knowledge and quick thinking helped save the life of a decorated Vietnam veteran.

Dan Wilson and Patrick McLaughlin were singled out during the Oct. 8 meeting for their efforts to revive Jack Ernest. The retired Marine sergeant had collapsed during a POW-MIA recognition day ceremony held Sept. 20 at Historic Fort Steuben. Ernest, who was reading the names of 25 Vietnam War veterans who remain unaccounted for, was overcome by the day’s heat and humidity and stopped breathing, striking his head after he fell.

Thankfully, Wilson and McLaughlin were able to step in. Wilson, commander of AMVETS Post 275, administered CPR, while McLaughlin, a longtime volunteer at the fort, counted compressions and breathed for Ernest, actions which are credited with saving the life of the man who founded We Believe Ministries Inc.

Fate, and their work in the community, brought the three together that Friday. Wilson and Ernest are heavily involved with helping area veterans. Ernest, who is president of the Jefferson County Veterans Commission, earlier this year was recognized for his efforts aimed at serving those who served when he was presented the Legion of Honor Award by the Chapel of Four Chaplains in Philadelphia. It’s a program that recognizes veterans who are performing selfless acts for wounded and disabled veterans.

McLaughlin, meanwhile, is a familiar face at fort events and other activities throughout the town, efforts which led to his being named a Herald-Star-Weirton Daily Times Community Star in 2011.

It all led up to a moment that will not be forgotten.

“I never experienced anything like that,” Steubenville Mayor Jerry Barilla said during the council meeting. “It was quite emotional.”

We’re glad to see that Ernest survived that mid-September incident, thankful for the immediate response of Wilson and McLaughlin and happy City Council was able to take a moment to recognize their efforts.

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