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On Friday, Dec. 27 the Budd Lake Bar & Restaurant had a larger than usual crowd in the family and friends of Don Haskin. The stars of the evening were his grandson Ryan Haskin and Ryan’s girlfriend of two years, Erika Cullen.
On behalf of the Haskin family, Kristen Haskin Sanderson described the events that took place on July 21 and the family’s gratitude to their very own first responders and guardian angels, Ryan and Erika.
Don was driving home with his wife, Jan, Ryan and Erika in a caravan of three cars after enjoying a Loons game in Midland when he experienced a cardiac arrest on U.S. 10. Erika took immediate charge of the situation to get the car stopped and begin CPR while Jan called 911. Erika did chest compressions while Ryan began rescue breaths. When this part of the story was told, it was noted that Don thought it might have been better the other way around. The two kept up CPR until MMR arrived and took over his care. Not knowing what was needed next, Erika steered the family away from Don and said a prayer. He was then transported to MidMichigan Medical center in Midland.
The family soon filled the ER and then eventually the ICU during Don’s monthlong stay. While recovery wasn’t easy Don received a pacemaker and recovered very well.
Mayor Stacy Stocking and Sheriff John Wilson presented Ryan and Erika with lifesaving awards for administering CPR to Don in the early morning hours of July 21, 2019. Stocking said, “Without Ryan and Erika’s prompt and skill-full administering of CPR to Don, we would not be here today with Don to present these plaques of appreciation and gratitude for their unselfish acts of heroism. On behalf of myself, Sheriff Wilson, the City of Harrison, Clare County Sheriff Department, your entire family and a grateful community, please accept these plaques as a small token of our appreciation for your act of heroism, saving the life of our beloved Don Haskin.”
Erika had comments prepared but knew she was too emotional to read them, so Kristen again took to the floor and read her words. Erika described knowing right away Don wouldn’t give up and was a fighter, in fact he was fighting her chest compressions at times. She described the day as life changing. As the ambulance and firefighters arrived, she said prayers for recovery and that after, as adrenaline wore off, she was pale and felt sick but happy their prayers were answered, and Don would be OK.
A few tears were wiped away as stories were told and retold, and family and friends enjoyed hors d'oeuvres. The Haskin family describes this past holiday season as particularly special as they are grateful to spend the holidays together.
Erika was trained as an EMT and is currently a phlebotomist. She is the daughter of Tom and Angie Cullen.