Machinists honor three for saving co-worker’s life

AUBURN — The Machinists Union has honored three of its members who work for Boeing in Auburn for the quick-thinking teamwork that saved the life of a co-worker in December.

Hughes, Goff, Campbell and Bangs

The three – Harry Bangs, Kimberlee Hughes and Lesta Campbell – have received certificates of appreciation from Machinists Union District Lodge 751, and are also being nominated by the union for the annual Governor’s Life Saving Award.

They’re being honored for an incident that took place on Dec. 2 at Boeing’s Auburn site. Bangs was returning to one of the buildings after hauling out a bag of trash, when he spotted co-worker Tom Goff, who had collapsed flat on his back just outside the door.

Bangs ran to the door, yelled inside for help, then ran to Goff’s side to check on him, only to discover that he had stopped breathing and had no pulse.

Hughes heard Bangs’ shouting and ran to help him, and when she arrived, the two of them began doing CPR, with Hughes doing the chest compressions while Bangs watched for signs of breathing or heartbeat.

Meanwhile, Campbell called for paramedics and stayed on the line with the dispatcher until an emergency team arrived. That’s “the proper procedure,” she said, “but it was frustrating because I wanted to be out there in case there was something more I could do.”

“It seemed like it took hours for the emergency crew to arrive,” Bangs said, “but it was only minutes.”

The emergency team ended up defibrillating Goff four times before his heart started beating, his co-workers said.

“It really shook us up,” Hughes said. “I remember it was so cold that day, that when Tom did start breathing, you could see his breath.”

“These members did exactly as they have been trained to do in an emergency,” said Donovan McLeod, a District 751 union steward who serves on the joint IAM/Boeing Health and Safety Institute committee for the Boeing facilities in Auburn. “While most people have taken CPR training, no one really knows how they will react when faced with this kind of situation. They stayed calm, followed procedure and delivered proper care.”

The fact that they had immediately started CPR enhanced Goff’s recovery, union health and safety officers said. Goff spent a week in the hospital, recuperated at home and returned to work in mid-January.

The recognition for their efforts is nice, said Campbell, but “the best reward is that Tom is still here,” she said. “That was what we all wanted.”

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, Machinists Union District Lodge 751 now represents more than 26,000 working men and women at 44 employers across Washington, Oregon and California.  In 2010, District 751 volunteers gave nearly 6,200 hours to community service projects across Puget Sound, and raised more than $276,000 for Guide Dogs of America, the union’s charity of choice.

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