August 25, 2023, will be a day the Ruff Family will not soon forget. It was on that date that Battle Ground resident Brad Ruff experienced a sudden cardiac arrest. Fortunately for Brad, his incredible wife Gretchen, a former emergency room nurse, immediately acted by calling 9-1-1 and initiating CPR.
Gretchen’s response was the first link in the ‘chain of survival’ that ultimately saved Brad’s life. Battle Ground Police Officers Max Everett and Jeff Cabanting-Rafael arrived at the Ruff residence just minutes after the call was dispatched. The officers quickly assumed administering CPR until crews from Fire District 3 and American Medical Response arrived. Each first responder provided care as Brad lay, seemingly, lifeless.
It took just 8-minutes, as Gretchen recounted, from the time she had placed the initial 911 call to when the paramedics declared they had ‘pulses back’; Brad was alive! Each responding unit, Battle Ground Police Department, Fire District 3, and American Medical Response were captured on the family’s doorbell camera arriving one after the other to help. Brad Ruff was transported to PeaceHealth hospital for additional medical treatment.
Typically, this is where the story ends for first responders. Once their patient is treated on scene and transported to the hospital, first responders usually don’t learn of their patient’s outcome.
Fast forward to September 27, 2023, a day that several of our local first responders will not soon forget. This was the day that Brad and Gretchen Ruff, along with several members of their extended family, joined us for a Chain of Survival Ceremony giving the first responders a rare opportunity to share in a moment of joy with the life they came together to save. With cookies, hugs, and a few tears shared; this encounter was certainly more enjoyable than their last.
As with many emergency calls for service, this call had a successful outcome because of the many people, agencies, and expertise that came together for the common goal to serve and protect our community. As Fire District 3 presented Gretchen with a lifesaving award, she humbly accepted the honor with the encouragement of anyone and everyone to seek training in first aid and CPR. In an emergency, every second counts. If you were to ask the first responders and medical professionals involved in this case, they would all agree that Gretchen’s hands were the hands that saved Brad’s life.
Chief Fort added, “I am very proud of our officers’ quick response in this incident. Officer Everett and Officer Cabanting-Rafael demonstrated the quality service we can count on from our officers, and most importantly the quality care and compassion for this patient and his family.”
The Battle Ground Police Department extends our deepest thanks to the Ruff Family for sharing Brad’s story of survival with us.