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Wednesday, June 19, 2024


OC Officer Credited for Saving a Life

Vineland resident Stephen Barse speaks to Ocean City Council Dec. 30

By Bill Barlow

OCEAN CITY – Stephen Barse will see 2020, thanks to an Ocean City police officer.
Barse stood up Dec. 30, at the closing of the afternoon City Council meeting, to tell his story and say thank you for the rescue.
In September, Barse told council he had a heart attack during on a bike ride. He believes he only survived because of the quick action of an Ocean City police officer.
“For me, it’s a good way to end the year to come here and say thank you,” he said.
Barse’s family began visiting Ocean City in the 1960s, he said, when his parents bought a property in the resort. Barse, along with his brother and sister, own the house, where he said he planned to spend New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
“New Year’s Day is four months to the day since I had a very serious incident here, which worked out great thanks to your emergency management people,” Barse told council.
“I was riding my bike across the Ocean City-Longport Bridge. I had a heart attack while I was waiting at the top of the bridge for my cousin to catch up,” he said.
A passing driver saw him lying in the shoulder of the road. On the other side of the toll, Barse recounted, the driver found an Ocean City officer who was training a rookie officer. The officer investigated.
“When he got there, there were three people there already who were certified in CPR who were already taking care of me, including an EHT officer, apparently,” he said. “What they did not have, which your police officer had that saved my life, was a defibrillator.”
He believes that piece of equipment saved his life before the ambulance arrived. He was in the hospital for three weeks, he said.
Barse did not know the officer’s name, but he said the officer kept in touch with his cousin, texting to check on Barse’s condition a month after the incident.
“In my view, that’s above and beyond. I can’t tell you how much it touched me and it touched my family,” he said.
Barse, a Vineland resident and an attorney, spent 15 years as a municipal solicitor. His family has visited Ocean City for years.
His wife, Patricia Barse, also attended the meeting. She did not speak during the meeting, but afterward said she was grateful her husband survived.
Barse said it may sound self-serving, but he encouraged the city to continue to invest in lifesaving equipment.
“Thanks to this town making an investment, a town I spent almost 60 years vacationing and spending a lot of time here, I’m here to talk to you today. I couldn’t be happier. My wife is in the back, and she’s pretty happy, too, as are my daughters,” Barse said.
Council and Mayor Jay Gillian expressed their happiness at the outcome for Barse, with several shaking his hand after the meeting.
“I will continue to vacation here, as will my family,” he said during his comments. “We love this town, and we’re going to continue.”
He wished the members of the governing body a happy and safe New Year.

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