Week's end

Feb. 23, 2013 @ 02:41 PM

It’s understandable that Howard Clement would’ve felt some reluctance about moving to Durham in the early 1960s.

Back then, segregation ruled the day, and he found himself turned away from a downtown motel.

What if that had been enough to send him packing back to Charleston, S.C., for good?

Instead, Clement remained, became a champion for civil rights and devoted himself to public service as a member of the City Council. During his tenure on the board, he has pushed for the annexation of Parkwood and supported development of The Streets at Southpoint shopping mall.

On Thursday, at its annual meeting, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce bestowed its Civic Honor Award to Clement.

The award, given since 1933, recognizes people who have made extraordinary contributions.

We’re sad to hear that illness has kept him from attending recent council meetings, but we remain grateful that he stuck around all those years ago and called Durham home.

Week’s End hopes Clement is taking it easy this weekend.

 

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Can it get much grittier than this?

In March 2011, Janet Walters dropped dead in her Chapel Hill office on the UNC campus.

A co-worker performed chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth while the receptionist called 911.

When paramedics arrived, they shocked her heart with a portable defibrillator, not just once or twice, but four times before they had a rhythm again.

She spent the next two weeks in a coma at UNC Hospitals, just a couple of blocks from the FedEx office where she had died.

Her heart stopped beating again. This time, surgeons installed a pacemaker.

“Every time I see a different doctor, they say, ‘Wow! You’re really lucky,’” Walters said.

That’s putting it mildly.

Her case should drive home just how critical those first minutes of CPR are to the survival of patients as they wait for paramedics to arrive. If you’re not trained in basic CPR, give it serious consideration, because it might mean the difference between life and death for someone you love.

This week’s shared Grit Award goes to Walters, her co-workers, the paramedics and her caregivers in the hospital.