Dear Editor,

This letter will not change the outcome, but it may save someone’s life.

On December 21, 2018, my husband of 47 years, Joe, did not come in at his regular time from his smoking spot in the outside garage.

This was one of his daily tasks (with Alzheimer’s, you do the same thing daily).

I loaded the car for our family Christmas gathering the next day, then proceeded to get Joe for lunch.

I blew the horn and no Joe. I went to get him and found him on the sidewalk beside the garage. I could not get him up and at the time he

could not talk. I turned his head so he could breath (he was face down) and went into the house and called 911.

The call would not go through and the line went dead so I called a neighbor for help. I tried 911 again to see if anyone would pick up.

This is a landline and Frontier is our phone company. The neighbor had a cell phone and the call went right through, but several minutes had passed since I had found Joe.

Within a few minutes, the first person to arrive was Roy Phlipot. He had oxygen and an emergency case. I grabbed blankets to cover Joe. I could hear the squad coming. They transported him to Van Wert Hospital. I grabbed his meds and followed the squad. I was unable to see Joe for

quite some time at the hospital while they did testing. They stabilized him and then transferred him to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.

In Fort Wayne, nothing changed. They did more testing and CT scans, then surgery. Three different doctors came to talk to me about my

choice. I asked to keep him alive until my youngest son, Jay, came from Cincinnati. Dan was there, along with my brother and pastor too. Jay got there and he told the doctor what we wanted. They proceeded and we said

our goodbyes.

The point of this letter is what happened when we called 911 the first and second time.

How much time was lost because the phone company refuses to properly maintain the equipment? The day after Christmas, we called the

dispatcher to talk about the problem of the call to 911 and how it did not work properly. He said they had been having trouble with homes with landline phones getting through to 911 at times. This is a problem

between the 911 system, the Sheriff Department and the phone companies.

The phone companies need to update the equipment, but have failed to do so.

Has this problem been fixed? I have waited more than six months to write this hoping to hear from someone in the Commissioner’s Officer or the EMA, but no one has called. I have spoken with the people at the commissioner’s office and watching the minutes in the newspaper, but the subject has never been addressed.

I talked with Sheriff Landers, he explained how 911 works and how calls come in and if a person has trouble calling they must report it.

Then they will track down problems.

You are paying for 911 home phone and property tax. The County Commissioners said the system is good and it is being watched very closely.

Not all people have cell phones, so is it safe for people to call

911 on their landlines? Or will it just work sometimes and be ok with that?

We pay extra on our phone bill for this service and it should work

all the time. Not just part of the time. What if this would have been a child not a 70 year old man with Alzheimers. So I am turning this

problem back to the EMA, Paulding County Commissioners and The Paulding

Progress, because they can get to the bottom of this for all of us. I want a safe county for all.


Theresa Lehman