Editor’s note: Wallace Kamens, operations manager, Atlantic Pest Solutions, Jacksonville, Fla., submitted to PCT the following article, which tells the story of Ralph Haire, a service technician of 23 years who assisted in efforts to resuscitate a toddler who had stopped breathing.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Ralph Haire is just your neighborhood pest control guy. He's been at it for 23 years, and enjoys his work. Meeting people and helping control their pest problems gives him deep satisfaction and purpose. His customers favorably respond to his “attention to detail” by regularly calling the office, or mailing in “Thank you” letters. They rave about the way he listens to them, recommends good solutions to their problems, and professionally handles his responsibilities. Yes, Ralph Haire is just your neighborhood pest control guy, but with an above average heart. Especially one fateful day in November.
Ralph was finishing up his route on Collins Road in Jacksonville, Fla., when suddenly he turned around a bend and witnessed something unexpected; a hysterical woman with her lifeless toddler cradled in her arms. She was frantically waving down his vehicle from behind her light blue coupe alongside the road. Ralph immediately pulled in and hurried to her aid. Her 16-month-old son had suddenly stopped breathing, and his mom was distraught and confused as what to do next. Ralph instantly suggested she place the infant on the trunk of her car while he dialed 911 for the desperate mom.
A few minutes later some Navy personnel from the nearby base stopped and, having paramedic training, proceeded to administer CPR to the infant. They shouted the need for a throat depressor of some kind to remove the boy's tongue from his windpipe. Ralph shot to his vehicle and grabbed his trusty back-scratcher, and handed it to the men helping the boy. A few minutes later the boy was miraculously breathing again, and soon afterward was in the ambulance on his way to Orange Park Memorial hospital.
As the swirls of dust settled to the ground, Ralph gave a glance upward, got back into his vehicle, and continued on his way. Another day in the life of your neighborhood pest control guy, and a hero in the eyes of a child who years from now will hear the story of a man who sacrificed a scratch for a friend.