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Three employees from a Missouri Social Services Department office in Jennings have been named the State Employees of the Month for May.

Mary Gbougbo, of Manchester, Andrew Bailey, of St. Ann, and Sheila Sullivan, of St. Peters, were working in their office Dec. 5, 2018, when another employee had a cardiac incident that rendered her unconscious and unresponsive. The three worked to perform CPR on the woman with the help of a 911 operator.

“Mary was the first to begin the life-saving techniques since she has a great grasp of knowledge of CPR and was backed up by a former employee, who also was trained in emergency situations,” office manager Shonda Wade said in her nomination letter for the three workers. “While Sheila took control of the scene and tried to convey the vital instructions and information from the 911 operator, she and the others took turns performing chest compressions for over 20 minutes before the ambulance arrived. They were delayed due to their GPS system giving them incorrect information for our office location.”

Wade said despite screams and other background noise from panicking co-workers, the three maintained a steady rhythm of compressions with Bailey providing air through mouth to mouth.

“According to the doctor at the hospital, their collective actions saved my employee’s life and kept her from severe brain damage,” Wade wrote. “This was pure heroics and an amazing act of unselfishness that should not go unnoticed.”

Wade said Gbougbo, Bailey and Sullivan all jumped in to play an important part in saving their co-worker’s life.

“Each of them, with no regard for themselves, simply thought of saving her life,” Wade said. “They lifted her from her chair, carefully placed her on the floor, began CPR and refused to stop until assistance arrived. These individuals could have stood back and waited for someone else to do it or simply just panic and do nothing, but they didn’t.”

“Each day we sit near people in our offices and sometimes you get a chance to know them personally and sometimes you don’t,” Wade added. “The worker who was in need of assistance was always kind and sweet, but never allowed many others into her personal realm. She was very private and kept her life to herself.

“The persons who saved her life didn’t know much about her. They didn’t save her because they often had lunch together; they didn’t save her because she often gave out treats in the breakroom; they didn’t save her because there were many memories that had been shared between them through the years. They saved her because it was simply the right thing to do.”