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Paige Graham Recognized for Life-Saving Action as Tompkins County Champion

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Paige Graham Recognized for Life-Saving Action as Tompkins County Champion

Friday, May 17, 2019

Before the Tompkins County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee yesterday, Paige Graham, of Groton, was presented the first-ever Tompkins County Champion Award by the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office.  This award was created to honor an individual who displays exceptional courage, presence of mind, and swiftness in action in an emergency situation.

Ms. Graham, who was age 19 at the time and a student at Tompkins Cortland Community College, was recognized for performing CPR, with the assistance of Tompkins County 9-1-1, on her father, Bruce Graham after he had suffered cardiac arrest on January 3, 2019, saving his life. 

Sheriff Derek Osborne praised Graham for her exceptional calm and outstanding skill in a stressful emergency situation and commended her for her life-saving actions.  “Community members should be recognized for these moments,” Sheriff Osborne said.

Also at the Public Safety Committee meeting, committee members engaged in a discussion with local sportsman and long-time hunting instructor Dick Costello on provisions of New York State Environmental Conservation Law related to use of rifles for hunting. In 2011, the Legislature considered but failed to approve a measure that would have permitted rifle hunting in Tompkins County.  Committee Chair Rich John had invited Mr. Costello to discuss the issue with the committee, and said he might be open to seeking reconsideration of the issue at a later time.

Interim Director of Emergency Response Brian Robison briefed the Committee on his goals for the department.  Goals he identified include facilitating the activities of and implementing organizational change through the new Emergency Response Oversight Committee; recruiting, hiring, and implementing staffing changes approved as part of the 2019 budget process; studying options and developing a plan to establish a back-up Emergency Operations Center; implementing a strategy for repair and replacement of components of the County’s public safety communications system; and enhancing program coordination and workflow within the Department of Emergency Response. 

Also related to Emergency Response, the Committee recommended approval by the full Legislature of a procedural resolution endorsing home rule bills introduced on behalf of the County in the New York State Senate and Assembly to amend NYS County Law to allow Tompkins County to extend its additional $0.65 surcharge on telephone access lines.  Current authorization, approved ten years ago, will sunset at the end of 2019.