Natrona County Deputies Honored For Saving Life Of Bar Nunn Fireman

Two Natrona County Sheriff deputies were honored last week for saving the life of a Bar Nunn fireman who suffered a "widowmaker" heart attack. The deputies kept the fireman's heart going until emergency personnel arrived.

Wendy Corr

November 16, 20225 min read

Harlin Schulz
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

It was a year ago Monday that Bar Nunn Assistant Fire Chief Wes Gilmore’s life could have ended.

His wife, Shannon Gilmore, recalls waking up at 4 in the morning Nov. 14, 2021, to the sounds of her husband in distress. She dialed 911 and began CPR, but only had the chance to administer a few compressions before two Natrona County Sheriff’s deputies, Ryan Schulz and Dan Beall, arrived.

“I did about 10 compressions, and the next thing I know one of the sheriff’s deputies was there,” Gilmore told Cowboy State Daily. “I would say within 5 minutes.”

A ‘Widowmaker’

The deputies took turns keeping Wes’s heart going until the ambulance arrived and emergency medical technicians took over, transporting him to the hospital where he received the care he needed.

But Gilmore said that if Shulz and Beall hadn’t arrived when they did, it would have been too late. That’s because her husband had suffered a type of heart attack called a “widowmaker,” which according to the American Health Association, takes the life of 88% of the people who experience one.

“Wes was back to work full-time 101 days after this happened because of the quick response,” said Gilmore.

Not Forgotten

Last week, Beall and Schulz were honored by Natrona County Sheriff John Harlin for their quick response. Department spokesperson Kiera Grogan said the two were nominated by their colleagues within the department for the Lifesaving Award.

“The Lifesaving Medal can be awarded to any member of our office who, on or off duty, performs an act which directly leads to the prolonging or the saving of a human life,” said Grogan. “They obviously performed extremely well under pressure and provided imminent and professional treatments to the unconscious patient at the scene.”

Right Place, Right Time

Natrona County Sheriff’s Office deputies have a lot of ground to cover when they patrol, so the response time in this case really was remarkable, said Beall.

“We cover a little bit over 5,800 square miles,” said Beall. “So, both of us were kind of in the right place at the right time, if you will. And that helped aid in the patient’s outcome.”

In his eight years as a Natrona County deputy, Schulz said he had never needed to use his CPR training – until that early morning last November.

“We do CPR training every year, and that was my first time ever doing CPR,” said Schulz. “And my second one was a couple months ago.”

Part Of The Job

And if you ask Schulz and Beall, the incident was, while not routine, an expected part of a career each of them chose. Schulz has been with the department for eight years, but comes from a family of law enforcement officers; Beall has only been with the department for three years, but spent the 19 years prior in the fire and emergency medical service fields.

“It really is just part of our job and something that we wish not to go on, but know we’re going to eventually end up on something much like that,” said Beall. “But it was significant because Mr. Gilmore is still with us, and that is very awesome.” 

“It was just a relief that he was able to go back home with his family,” added Schulz. 

A Team Of Heroes

Grogan said that Beall and Schulz were two of several deputies who were honored at last week’s awards ceremony.

“There were three separate incidents that were submitted to us that rose to the level of a Lifesaving Medal,” she said. “Ryan and Dan were one incident of CPR, and then we had two other crews where individuals received Llifesaving Medals as well from incidents over the year 2021.”

Schulz said the law enforcement team he works with every day makes the communities they serve safer.

“A lot of them would get the shirt off their back to help anybody that’s in need,” he said. “A lot of them I would put my life on the line for, and they would do the same for me.”

And, he said, those officers are an example of how people across the state take care of each other.

“It’s just how Wyoming is – if somebody’s in need, there’s always somebody there to help,” said Schulz.

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Wendy Corr

Broadcast Media Director