Freeholders Honor CCM Trio As Lifesaving Heroes

The Morris County Board of Freeholders recently honored three County College of Morris employees whose quick actions at a college meeting in 2014 saved the life of a colleague who had suffered a heart attack.

The freeholders presented special county certificates to Dwight Smith of Randolph, who is CCM’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, and to Sgt. Charles Munk of Hackettstown and Officer David Ackerman of Morris Plains, who are both members of the CCM security team, who with Smith performed the life saving measures.

All three men earlier this year received the American Heart Association’s 2016 American Heartsaver Award.

“You never know how you will respond to a crisis until you are personally confronted with one,’’ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo. “Thankfully, in this case, as a result of their great response to a crisis situation, a life was saved. Their quick and decisive actions are to be commended and they truly deserving of this special county recognition.’’

On Oct. 29, 2014, Joan Cunningham, then the dean of CCM’s Division of Health and Natural Sciences, suffered a heart attack, and became unconscious and collapsed to the ground during a college meeting.

Smith, who was attending the meeting, immediately started applying CPR. He was soon joined by Munk and Ackerman who successfully applied an AED, or automated external defibrillator, which administered a shock to the heart of their stricken colleague to revive her.

Smith told the freeholders that he had received CPR training some 20 years earlier but had never been put to the test to use that training until his colleague collapsed. Munk and Ackerman spoke of the importance of having portable defibrillators available in public buildings, and said the 2014 incident prompted the college to add them throughout the campus.

Dean Cunningham, who suffered the heart attack, survived and recovered from her ordeal and has since retired. But she gave Smith a keepsake of thanks – a watch that he still wears thanking him for giving her “extra time.’’

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