Longtime county official William E. "Ned" Eakle hadn't been to the dump in six months until Monday, and on his return, he may have saved a life.
Using CPR techniques that he had learned in a county-sponsored workshop more than three years ago, Eakle revived a 75-year-old Columbia man who had fainted, possibly because of heart trouble.
"He wasn't moving and didn't seem to be breathing," said Eakle, 64, who served as county administrator for 11 years. "I performed heart massage and he finally gave a gasp, started breathing, and, before you know it, he came back with us."
Eakle arrived at the Marriottsville landfill at 11:30 a.m. and was disposing of trash when a woman rushed up to him and asked if he knew CPR.
In the 85-degree heat, an elderly man who rescue workers said has a history of high blood pressure had collapsed while unloading trash from his car.
The womanwho rushed up to Eakle was Paula Myrtue, a secre
tary with the county Zoning Board of Appeals.
She said she at first didn't recognize Eakle, who has been retired since 1988.
"The gentleman had definitely stopped breathing and looked like he had suffered a seizure ofsome kind," Myrtue said. "Mr. Eakle was just wonderful. He came right over and knew exactly what to do. I hope he's around someday when Ihave trouble."
A woman who answered the phone at the 75-year-old Columbia man's home said that he was doing fine yesterday and had just undergone medical tests to determine whether he suffered a seizure or heart attack.
Eakle, who lives in Marriottsville, said he attended a seminar several years ago that was sponsored by the county Department of Fire and Rescue Services. At the time, he said, "I was skeptical. But after what happened to me this week, I'm glad I took the time to learn something about it."
The free seminars on life-savingtechniques have been cut in recent years due to budget cuts, said Donald R. Howell, a county rescue services spokesman.
"We'd like to see them brought back. The incident on Monday shows very clearly the positive benefits that the program can have for citizens," said Howell, who said the fire service may give Eakle a "Gift of Life" award for his rescue effort.
Eakle, a father of five who has been an outspoken county government figure featured in numerous newspaper stories over the years, has already taken some ribbing about his continued media exposure during his retirement.
Most recently, in January, he was named to head County Executive Charles I. Ecker's blue-ribbon commission assigned to study the county police department.
"After he did the rescue, he told me he was Ned Eakle," said Myrtue, who said she has followed his colorful county government career. "I told him, 'You've got to be careful. You're never going to get out of the spotlight, not even when you go to the dump.' "