PLYMOUTH — One of Plymouth’s finest was recognized for his service by the Plymouth Common Council Monday night — but it was a bittersweet moment for all.
“I suppose it’s nice to be recognized, but the outcome was certainly not what you would want,” said Plymouth Police Sergeant Gary Cleveland, who was honored by a commendation by Plymouth Chief of Police Jim Cox and by a proclamation by Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter.
Twice in the month of February Cleveland was called to the scene where an infant was discovered not breathing. In each case Cleveland immediately administered CPR to the infant and his efforts along with those of paramedics were able to revive vital signs in each child. In each case, however, the child was determined to be brain dead several days later at the hospital and taken off respirators.
In the most recent case the efforts to revive the infant allowed parents to make the decision to make their child a donor in hopes of saving another child’s life.
“Its the kind of call that when you get it, it stirs something deep in your heart, especially if you have kids of your own,” said Cleveland. “It gives you a special sense of urgency to get there quickly. That baby is depending on you. That baby is depending on the whole world to be there for them and that makes you want to get there as quickly as you can.
“None of us (emergency personnel) are looking for that kind of recognition. Nobody does this job for that reason. They do it because of a deep sense inside of them to always be there for the community. It’s part of who they are.”
A graduate of Plymouth High School and a veteran of the Air Force, Cleveland has been a Plymouth Police Officer for the last 18 years. It was in the Air Force that Cleveland first learned CPR and part of his ongoing training with Plymouth PD includes regular refresher courses on the procedure. It’s a skill that he urges everybody to learn.
“People should absolutely learn CPR,” he said. “It’s only a matter of time before a loved one may need that kind of help.”