Even before Kenner Fire Department Capt. Clifton McGovern brought a woman back from the dead, he could tell that the call he and his colleagues rolled out to on Jan. 15 would not be an ordinary one.
Their patient that day was a woman from Venezuela who was visiting relatives at a home on Miami Place in Kenner’s University City section when a medical emergency stopped her pulse. McGovern’s team couldn’t ask questions or give instructions because the woman didn’t speak English well. She soon became unresponsive.
McGovern acted quickly. With the help of his crew, the 19-year Kenner fire veteran performed basic life support on the woman. She eventually regained her pulse — and, for all practical purposes, her life.
On Tuesday, McGovern was publicly hailed as a hero, when Mayor Mike Yenni recognized the captain as Kenner’s firefighter of the year at the annual State of the City address at Chateau Country Club.
“When I was told I was going to get this, my exact response was, ‘I’m getting a ... reward for doing my job,’ ” McGovern said. “It may sound cliche, but it’s the truth.”
Nonetheless, praising his Fire Department colleagues who were with him that day at Miami Place, McGovern eventually became more receptive to the honor.
“It’s a great feeling in the sense that someone’s life looked to be taken ... from (her), and we kind of prevented that and helped (her) move on (with the rest of her life) by us doing what we are supposed to do, what we’ve been trained to do and been taught to do,” McGovern said after Yenni’s speech. “To say it that way, it does make you feel good with the scenario and how it all played out.”
Yenni, for his part, said he realized that, “to Capt. McGovern, his life-saving action was just another day on the job. (But) to us, his response is heroic.”
Yenni on Tuesday also recognized the Kenner Police Department’s 2014 officer of the year, Zachary Dubourg.
On proactive patrol last year in April, Dubourg conducted a routine traffic stop that led to the arrest of six people, two of whom were felons, and the seizure of three guns.
Dubourg’s stop also netted 7 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
“His concern for his fellow man and his dedication to Kenner strengthen us, protect us and give us peace of mind,” Yenni said of Dubourg, who’s been with the city’s Police Department for 41/2 years.
Dubourg afterward said he’d never expect such plaudits for fulfilling his duty. However, in an apparent reference to rioting that has occurred recently in other cities where there have been slayings of unarmed men by police, Dubourg said it was nice to be complimented for a job well done at a time when many in America are suspicious of police officers.
“It’s that there are still people out there that care about police — especially nowadays, we get a bad name,” said Dubourg, who was chosen as officer of the year by Kenner’s Rotary Club. “There’s a few bad eggs, and right now (good) police (officers) aren’t too recognized.”