Tears of joy

  • Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Photos by Taylor Griffith/Journal Scene Kevin Conway shares a hug with Dorchester County Dispatcher Fayth Grooms, who coached his wife through CPR when she called 911. The assistance saved his life.

Photos

On April 5, 2014, at around 9 p.m. Carol Conway called 911. Her husband, Kevin, was barely breathing.

The Dorchester County Dispatch Center received the call. Dispatcher Fayth Grooms was on the other end of the line.

“My husband is not breathing, he’s having trouble breathing,” Carol said, panicked.

Over the next several minutes Grooms coached Carol through performing CPR on her husband and giving him chest compressions while her children waited outside to flag down EMS.

Carol performed 10 rounds of CPR and chest compressions before the ambulance arrived.

Her husband still wasn’t responding, and a panicked tone crept into Carol’s voice: “Come on Kevin, come on...”

“Carol, you’re doing a great job,” said Grooms.

As EMS arrived and Carol turned her attention away from Grooms and toward the emergency responders, Grooms stayed on the line.

“We heard the firefighters say ‘He’s breathing on his own,’” Grooms remembered. “The fire department came back by to let us know he was ok.”

Later, the hospital told the Conways that Kevin had a mild heart attack.

On May 2, the Conway family – Kevin, Carol and their 10- and 11-year-old children – visited Grooms and the Dorchester County Dispatch Center to give their thanks to the woman who saved Kevin’s life.

In the privacy of the Sheriff’s Office, Grooms and the family met for the first time. Kevin burst into tears as he reached for Grooms. The two embraced for several minutes.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you so much. My family thanks you,” he said.

“I’m so glad you can be here,” she said.

The Conways hugged their way around the room; the rest of Dorchester County Dispatch and the responding EMS paramedics also came to the meeting.

“Both of you did a really good job,” said Chief Deputy Sam Richardson. “You (Grooms) kept her (Carol) even keeled, and you (Carol) were strong. We don’t often get the chance to see the good side of things around here. Because of this exchange you are a member of the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office family now.”

As the group discussed the events of that night, Grooms complimented Carol on her performance.

“You were perfect, you did everything I needed you to do. You are a true hero.

“You listened, and that’s what we needed. He’s here and he’s going to stick around for a long time,” Grooms said. “I’m so glad to meet you.”

EMS also congratulated Carol for being “smart” and “very brave.”

“It feels so quick and takes forever at the same time,” said Carol of waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

Grooms took the Conway family on a tour of the Dispatch Center to show them how their call was received and exactly what she did to talk Carol through the situation.

Chief Dep. Richardson said what Grooms did on April 5 is what all of the dispatchers are faced with every day during their shifts.

“[Dispatchers] are the unsung heroes in the Sheriff’s Office,” he said.

Grooms said the 911 call was just as special to her as it was to the Conways.

“After I knew he was OK I was in tears,” she said. “This is why I love my job. If this happens once in the whole time I’m a dispatcher, it’s worth it.”

Grooms has been a dispatcher for 14 years, and has been with DCSO for six years. In all that time, she’s only once met a person she helped, and that case was “less severe,” she said.

“Hopefully you’ll never have to call again,” Grooms told the Conways.

“I’m so glad I got to meet you all.”

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