R-Place Family Eatery now has an automated external defibrillator, or AED, courtesy of Mazon-Gardner-Morris-Coal City Girl Scout Troop 75466.
The scouts worked through the Morris Police Department to get the device in the Morris restaurant. They used funds they earned selling cookies to purchase it.
The troop sold 21,377 boxes of cookies this year, raising enough money to do some public service projects.
“They wanted a way to give back to the community," said volunteer Maria Sjostrom, mother of Girl Scout Bristol.
Adult troop volunteers research various ways the girls can give back and present the ideas to them to make the final decisions. They found out through Morris Police Sgt. Steve Huettemann that the department had a program that placed AEDs in local businesses.
“We presented it to the girls and explained what they were because some of the younger girls didn’t know,” Sjostrom said. “They decided from several different 'take action' projects which ones they wanted to do.”
Police Chief John Severson and Fire Chief Tracey Steffes had the idea to put defibrillators in every business in Morris if they could, Huettemann said.
He said minutes count when there is a cardiac emergency. Having an AED nearby can make the difference between life and death.
“That first couple of minutes is vital, when that person needs CPR to get blood flow to get the oxygen to the brain and the other vital organs, and a defibrillator is a very important part of that," Huettemann said. "A lot of times when people have a heart attack, their heart goes into fibrillation, and using the equipment to shock the heart back into a normal sinus rhythm can save their life.”
Anyone can use an AED, Huettemann said, even if they haven’t had training. The device tells you the steps to take.
Huetteman’s son Aric assisted in presenting the device to the restaurant last week.
The top two cookie sellers in the troop, Bristol Sjostrom of Gardner and Cassidy Thorson of Morris, took second and sixth place respectively in their region, which includes all of greater Chicago and northwest Indiana. They earned trips to Walt Disney World for their achievements.
“It’s nice and it saves people’s lives,” Sjostrom said of the AED donation. Her favorite Girl Scout cookies are S’mores and Do-si-dos.
Thorson said she was happy the troop was able to donate the AED and said her favorite cookie is S’mores.
Other Troop 75466 girl scouts who were present for the donation were Heidi Barner, Breanne Elias, Abigail Alumbaugh, Samantha Runty, Lily Alumbaugh and Miya Scott. Veronica Pink, Makenzie Hoyt-Jones and Jaylyn Barr are also members of the troop.
An R-Place representative thanked the scouts for their donation and said the AED will be placed in a central location for easy access when needed.