Penfield, Willems honoredThis Hudson City Council meeting wasn’t nearly as traumatic for Sharon Horne-Ellstrom. She returned to City Hall on Monday night to help honor two of the men responsible for saving her life.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
This Hudson City Council meeting wasn’t nearly as traumatic for Sharon Horne-Ellstrom.
Six weeks after suffering a heart attack after leaving a council meeting, the owner of Dabruzzi’s Italian Foods and Ellie’s On Main Sports Bar returned to City Hall on Monday night, Oct. 18, to help honor two of the men responsible for saving her life.
The meeting opened with Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen presenting Lifesaver Awards to St. Croix EMS paramedic Jay Penfield and Hudson police officer Geoff Willems.
Jensen said Ellie’s On Main bartender William Petersen would also receive an award. Petersen didn’t attend the meeting.
Jensen told the council members and audience, including a dozen or more of Horne-Ellstrom’s family members and friends, that the actions of the three men prevented her death.
After leaving the Sept. 7 council meeting in which the liquor license for Ellie’s was a subject of debate, Horne-Ellstrom walked to the nearby tavern on Second Street and collapsed a few steps after entering the door.
Petersen is reported to have called 911 and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Horne-Ellstrom.
Penfield was next door at Barker’s Bar & Grill when St. Croix EMS was dispatched to Ellie’s. He hurried to the scene and took over CPR.
Then police officer Willems arrived with an automated external defibrillator (AED) that all Hudson squad cars are equipped with. Willems attached the AED’s pads to Horne-Ellstrom’s body and restarted her heart with a shock.
A St. Croix EMS ambulance took her to Hudson Hospital, where she was attended to by an emergency room doctor and then rushed to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
Every step in the life-saving system clicked just right, Horne-Ellstrom’s sister, Carolyn Osbeck, said during a photo session following the presentation of the awards.
It was the first time Horne-Ellstrom had talked to Penfield and Willems following her brush with death.
She said she had thought about the men often and was grateful for their actions.
“I’m glad to be here,” she said.
Horne-Ellstrom wasn’t aware of their presence the night of her heart attack. She lost consciousness before falling to the floor of Ellie’s and didn’t regain it until five days later.
Remarkably, doctors tell her that she didn’t suffer any heart damage. She didn’t require bypass surgery, but now has a pacemaker/AED implanted in her chest.
With the correct diet and blood-pressure medication, she’s expected to make a full recovery.
She’s under doctor’s orders to take it easy for six months.
Horne-Ellstrom said her son Michael Ellstrom stepped in and seamlessly took over the operation of Dabruzzi’s Italian Foods in her absence.
Ellie’s On Main is managed by her brother-in-law Greg Ellstrom.
Penfield and Willems said they just followed their training in resuscitating Horne-Ellstrom.
“You do it so often, it becomes routine,” Willems said when the two were asked if they were nervous.
They weren’t, seemed to be the answer.
Penfield, who has 17 years of experience as a paramedic, said he was just glad for the good outcome. It doesn’t always end that way, he noted.
The liquor license for Ellie’s has been an issue since neighboring residents and business owners complained earlier this year about noise from the tavern and bad behavior by some of its patrons.
Last June, the City Council amended the Ellie’s liquor license to prohibit alcohol on its outdoor deck.
Horne-Ellstrom filed a lawsuit to overturn the decision.
The City Council at its Sept. 7 meeting again amended Ellie’s license to allow alcoholic beverages on the deck. The reversal came after St. Croix County Circuit Judge Eric J. Lundell issued a temporary order restraining the city from enforcing the ban on alcohol on the deck.
Lundell noted that other Hudson establishments are allowed to serve alcohol outdoors.
The final outcome of the case is still pending.