By John Lauritsen

MONTEVIDEO, Minn. (WCCO) — A Montevideo police officer and a sheriff’s deputy were honored Monday night for saving the life of a woman by using Narcan. On Sept. 10 Officer Richard Beery and Deputy Richard Shamla responded to a call of a 20-year-old woman who wasn’t breathing because of an opiate overdose.

“She was very blue in color. I tried to find a pulse, check for any breathing. I wasn’t able to find either,” said Beery. Beery knew the 20-year-old woman on the bathroom floor had smoked a fentanyl patch — similar to overdosing on heroin. So he administered Narcan.

“It was pretty incredible. Her eyes opened up and she started to even talk a short while later,” said Beery.

“I got a text message from the chief on that day, that Saturday about 12:20 and he said, ‘We just had a Narcan save,’ and I cried. So I wasn’t surprised I was just really happy,” said Shelly Elkington.

Last year, Elkington lost her daughter, Casey Jo Schulte, to a possible overdose. Since then, she joined forces with Rep. Dave Baker (R) of Willmar to provide Narcan and Narcan training to first responders in Montevideo and other rural communities. Baker lost his son Dan in 2011.

“It’s a horrible club to be a part of,” said Baker.

But Monday night was about a life saved. At the city council meeting, Baker helped an award to Beery and Shamla for giving a 20-year-old mother the second chance his son and Elkington’s daughter never got.

“We really hope that they can find a quality of life sooner than later and someday can look back and say, ‘Wow, I’m so grateful I had that chance,'” said Baker.

“We are losing a generation of people. They add value to our society and we need them,” said Elkington.

John Lauritsen