Amy Jeffers was delivering the mail in Davenport this week when she noticed something out of kilter: a yellow garment in the driveway of a home on Charlotte Creek Road.
Deciding to pull closer, she saw that the yellow garment was a shirt on a person who was sprawled face down in the driveway.
She recalled Friday she hopped out of the truck and ran over to the person. Upon closer inspection, she said, she determined that the person slumped in the driveway was the disabled homeowner, Elizabeth Brett, whose body temperature appeared to be highly elevated after the woman was in direct sunlight for a prolonged period.
One of Brett’s canes was on the ground next to her.
A former member of the Davenport Fire Department who volunteers at a local food pantry in her spare time, Jeffers said she pulled out her cell phone and dialed 911.
As she did that, Jeffers recalled, she used her own shirt as an awning of sorts to create shade for Brett.
“They instructed me to roll her over, and to get her chin up,” said Jeffers, who is also the animal control officer for Davenport. “I provided shade for her head because it was very hot. She was breathing faintly.”
She said the Davenport Fire Department emergency medical services squad arrived on the scene quickly. That crew was followed by an ambulance dispatched by Cooperstown Medical Transport. After the ambulance arrived, Brett would be ferried to Fox Hospital in Oneonta.
Brett, 51, said Thursday she had become disoriented after having been stung near the eye by an unknown type of insect. The bite caused her to go into anaphylactic shock, triggered by her allergic reaction to it.
“I couldn’t see,” she said. “I started to get nauseous. I couldn’t get my air. I knew I was going down, so I started to get on the ground. The last thing I remember I was face down on the ground.”
Brett said she believes she was in the driveway for nearly two hours when Jeffers arrived.
“If it wasn’t for what Amy did, I wouldn’t be around right now,” said Brett, noting her face was still swollen from the insect bite. “I was in the trauma part of the hospital for quite a while before they even moved me to the regular part of the emergency room. I definitely wouldn’t have made it, if it wasn’t for her.”
Brett said that while lying in the driveway she could hear cars going by. No one stopped until Jeffers came to her aid, she said.
“She should get a medal for all she does for everybody,” Brett said. “How do you repay somebody for saving your life? I wish I was in a better position to help her. She helps everybody and gives up so much for everybody else. When they cut back at the food bank, she spent her own money to make sure everybody got food. She would give you the shirt off her back.”
Jeffers said she is a life-long resident of Davenport who, as a contract worker for the U.S. postal service, earns $10.50 an hour for delivering mail. She said she has had first-aid training, and had been a volunteer with the local fire department until about 13 years ago, when an injury curtailed that avocation.
She was asked how she feels about being credited with saving the life of a woman she has known for about three years.
“I feel pretty good,” said Jeffers, who lives on Main Street next to the Charlotte Valley school with her husband, a driver for Gerster Trucking in Davenport. “If somebody needs help, that’s what I do.”