Delivering Exceptional Services

Groundskeeper Recognized for Saving a Life

Longtime City of Irving employee Chris Merritt was tending to his normal duties as a groundskeeper at Trinity View Park when he noticed a park patron leaning against a trash can trying to get his attention this past October. Park patron Teddy Mitchell, who was walking along Campión Trail, began to experience chest pains. Mitchell asked Merritt to help him get home. Merritt, however, insisted otherwise and proposed another recommendation.

“You could tell by looking at him that he was having a hard time breathing,” said Merritt. “I just thought it would be better to call the ambulance.”

Going with his instinct, Merritt called 911 and stayed with Mitchell until the ambulance arrived; he even helped guide paramedics to the location. Later that evening, it was discovered that the park patron found leaning against a trash can had 100 percent blockage in two arteries, 95 percent blockage in the third and 85 percent blockage in the fourth. Mitchell’s physicians determined that Mitchell would need to undergo quadruple bypass surgery.

“Had Chris taken him home, he would have never seen another day,” said Recreation Superintendent Joe Moses. “It’s ironic in this incident, ignoring the customer’s wants and doing the right thing saved his life.”

A few months passed, and the recovered park patron joined by his wife visited City Hall. The couple’s mission was to personally thank Merritt for his meritorious actions.

“They came four months later and thanked me for being there,” said Merritt. “It sure was nice to see them and to see that he was OK.”

Staff members were moved by Merritt’s actions and at the Feb. 6 Work Session Meeting, he was recognized before City Council and organization leaders with Irving’s On-the-Spot Award. This award salutes employees who go beyond the call of duty to deliver exceptional services to residents.

“That’s an amazing story,” said Mayor Beth Van Duyne at the meeting. “You guys do great work.”

However, recognition was not the aim for Merritt. “I was just glad that I could help,” he said.

Posted March 7

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