Local agencies commended for saving life of a visiting bicyclist

A crowd of approximately 100 people attended an unprecedented commendation ceremony held Wednesday, August 12, in recognition of the contributions made by various agency personnel in saving the life of Jim Graham, a Canadian who suffered a heart attack while cycling across the border on June 7.

The commendations were presented by U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene who presented U.S. flags that had been flown on Capital Hill in Washington, D.C. She also read the commendation that had been read into the U.S. Congressional Record.

Graham collapsed outside of the U.S. port of entry but survived due to the assistance of a ready network of individuals and agencies that came to his rescue. First on the scene was Customs and Border Protection officer Detliff Goellner who was out of the building in “moments,” and began performing CPR, bringing Graham “back from the brink of death twice.” Goellner had recently finished a course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Goellner kept Graham alive until the arrival of a crew from the Point Roberts fire department with paramedic Ben Boyko who carried on until the arrival of an Airlift Northwest helicopter. Graham was then transported to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham.

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