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Gogebic County Sheriff's deputy honored for saving life


January 23, 2020

Tom LaVenture/Daily Globe

Bryon Flohaug, left, a Wakefield resident who suffered a heart attack last October in Bessemer, was present at the Gogebic County Commission meeting where Deputy Jessie Yesney of the Gogebic County Sheriff's Office was honored for his efforts to save his life. Yesney is shaking hands with Sheriff Peter Matonich, with Commission Chair Dan Siirila in back.


Bessemer - A Wakefield man said the life-saving efforts of a law enforcement officer has given him a new outlook on life.

Bryon Flohaug, a 51-year-old Wakefield electrical contractor employee with a wife and son, wanted to attend the Gogebic County Commission meeting Wednesday, where the commissioners joined the Gogebic County Sheriff's Office in honoring the deputy who is credited with saving his life.

"If it wasn't for him I wouldn't be here," he said.

Flohaug was helping a friend on a side-job at a South Johnson Road residence in Bessemer on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. He sat down on the sidewalk after complaining of heartburn and then fell over and stopped breathing. His friend started CPR and called 911.

Deputy Jessie Yesney was dispatched to the medical emergency and arrived before the medical responders at around 2:15 p.m. He said Flohaug's face was a dark purple and that he exhibited "all the signs of death."

Yesney took over CPR from Flohaug's friend. It wasn't the first time performed the life-saving action in the line of duty but it was the first time he used the department's portable automated external defibrillator (AED).

Yesney used the AED pads to shock Flohaug and continued CPR. The color began to return to Flohaug's face and he began breathing slightly.

"I just found out he was about 20 seconds from being dead," Yesney said. "That was how close.

Yesney said it was nice to see that Flohaug recovered from his ordeal.

Yesney was honored at the meeting with a framed copy of the department's Life Saving Award, signed by Sheriff Peter Matonich and County Commission Chair Dan Siirila. Undersheriff Ross Solberg read the account of the call as explained in the letter of commendation, calling Yesney's actions an outstanding example of a deputy's "efforts in service to the community and to their fellow deputies."

In the award, Matonich said that as the medical first responders arrived Yesney continued to assist with CPR until Flohaug was transported by Beacon Ambulance Service to Aspirus Ironwood Hospital.

"Deputy Yesney's quick response, recognition of the severity of the medical emergency, his immediate actions and effective CPR, resulted directly in saving the life of Mr. Bryon Flohaug," Matonich said in the award. "A failure to act or action after delay would have led to a tragic outcome."

Those actions qualified Yesney for the Life Saving Award, he said. The award bestows department and county appreciation.

Flohaug had heart stents placed through an artery without having open heart surgery. He spent nine days in the hospital and has reportedly made a full recovery.

"I don't remember any of the day," Flohaug said. "I'm just glad that I'm still standing. I tell you what; this is a life-changer."

The heart attack was a second chance to make some changes to his diet and lifestyle, he said. There are still some good days and bad days in recovering and continuing forward but he said remembering that he's 51-years-old and that his heart isn't going to take the same punishment he gave it when he was younger helps him through.

"When you're working it's kind of hard to remember to slow down sometimes," Flohaug said.


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