Summerdale employee recognized as hero after saving local woman’s life

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 4/9/19

SUMMERDALE - During the April council, Mayor David Wilson presented the Life Saving Award to Senior Center Program Director Karen Howard for her efforts and concern that resulted in the rescue of a …

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Summerdale employee recognized as hero after saving local woman’s life

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SUMMERDALE - During the April council, Mayor David Wilson presented the Life Saving Award to Senior Center Program Director Karen Howard for her efforts and concern that resulted in the rescue of a local woman.

On March 28, Howard noticed a regular face missing among those in attendance at the town’s senior lunch. Local Marge Malic, 86-years-old, who Howard saw often, had missed a few lunches, something unusual for her. Becoming concerned, Howard pulled Malic’s records from the center’s files, which included Malic’s doctor’s contact. Communicating with the doctor, Howard learned Malic had also missed an appointment and was told by the doctor it was very unlike her to not show up without first calling ahead.

The discovery prompted Howard to call Police Chief Kevin Brock to tell him her fears for Malic. Brock went by Malic’s house to check on her, finding newspapers untouched in the driveway and Malic’s car covered in a layer of pollen, signaling to him it had been unused for a while. Checking around, Brock found the house locked tight and all the lights off inside.

“I started getting that eerie feeling that we needed to get into the house,” Brock said. “Mayor Wilson happened to call me while I was looking around outside the house for an entry point, and he told me if I needed to, to breach the home and we could secure it afterwards.”

Brock was able to kick the front door in and enter into the home, where he began checking the rooms. To his shock, he found Malic in the hallway bathroom’s tub, where she had been for approximately six to eight days before her discovery.

“I thought when I kicked the front door in that it was a done deal,” Brock said. “I could smell that smell, and it’s one of those smells that I’m used to because I’ve smelled it before and you don’t forget it. I swear I thought I was responding to a different situation. But I saw her in the tub and I called out her name and she opened her eyes. I was shocked. We got her to the hospital and they gave her some fluids and some blood. She was severely dehydrated, and the doctors said she probably wouldn’t have made it another 24-hours. Thanks to Karen [Howard] and her getting involved and getting concerned, she probably saved Marge Malic’s life.”

Using Howard’s documents she keeps at the Senior Center, Brock was able to contact Malic’s sister who lives in South Dakota, who flew to Alabama immediately to be with her sister. Once fully recovered, Malic is planning to return to South Dakota with her sister to be with family. The Summerdale Police Department returned to Malic’s home once they had her to safety and secured the location and continued to patrol the area while Malic was in the hospital.

“We are happy to announce that Marge Malic is due to make a full recovery thanks to the efforts of Karen Howard,” Wilson said. “Her recognition to a potential problem and the compassion to act resulted directly in saving the life of Marge Malic, while a delay to react could have led to a tragic outcome. Therefore Howard’s actions qualify her for the Life Saving Award and bestows upon her the Town of Summerdale’s deepest appreciation. This is a miracle in the book of our lives here in Summerdale, and I personally want to thank Karen Howard and Chief Brock for responding, and everybody for coming together to save a life.”