FRANKENLUST TOWNSHIP (WJRT) -
(04/23/14) - Careful observation and a willingness to react - those are two of the characteristics that a pair of Mid-Michigan sisters share.
Their actions at a Frankenlust Township restaurant last fall weren't enough to save a life, but they're both still heroes in the eyes of a family that suffered a terrible loss.
You might say that Marge Williams and her sister Elaine Embry have plenty in common. Not only are they twins - they're both retired nurses.
"Once a nurse, always a nurse," Marge said.
That philosophy was put to the test last November, when the two were dining at a Frankenlust Township restaurant.
"We were sitting here at Burger's, having dinner with our friend. We saw this gal and her elderly mother in a wheel chair. She was feeding her so lovingly. I was really impressed with how kind she was to her mother," Marge said.
That admiration quickly turned into concern, when the sisters realized that something terrible was happening.
"All of a sudden, there was a panic look on her face. I saw her pull out her cell phone and hit it three times, so I said to Elaine there's something wrong. She just called 911," Marge said.
Even though Marge and Elaine had both left the nursing field several years ago, their natural instincts to help still kicked in.
"Elaine was closest to her. She immediately got up and went over. The girl said my mother coughed a little, and now she's not responding," Marge said.
Elaine quickly sprang to action.
"Very easily got her out of the wheel chair and on to the floor. Somebody else in the restaurant came over and moved a table, and I started doing CPR," Elaine said.
While Elaine began giving chest compressions, Marge joined her and started to administer mouth to mouth resuscitation.
"We continued until the ambulance got here. It takes a while for an ambulance to get out to Frankenlust Township. That's why we did both compressions and respirations, because she couldn't go that long without oxygen," Marge said.
Once the paramedics arrived and took over, the twins turned their attention to the woman's daughter.
"Here's the poor daughter, who's like, 'What am I going to do, what am I going to do?' We sat with her, gave her a hug, and explained to her what was happening. They injected some adrenaline to the heart and shocked her a few times," Elaine said.
Medics were able to get an electrical response and transported the woman to the hospital. Unfortunately, she didn't survive.
"We just did what we did naturally. It would have been nice had she been in better health and had we been able to pull her through, but that's just what nurses do," Marge said.
Elaine actually ran into the daughter several weeks later, and learned just how much the family appreciated their efforts.
"After Christmas, I met the daughter at Yonkers and she was with her sister. She told her sister that this is one of the ladies that worked on mom at Burger's. They both gave me a hug," she said.
As for being called heroes, Marge Williams and Elaine Embry prefer to think their actions were just part of what they were trained to do.
"It's nothing heroic. We were there, right next to her. We saw that she was in trouble. We saw the panic on her daughter's face and we reacted," Marge said.
Marge and Elaine will be honored Wednesday night at the "Everyday Heroes" banquet in Saginaw Township.