Saving lives... in Jessie's name

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By Tom Wilmoth

Jessica Erin Hart wanted to be a member of the Montvale Volunteer Fire Company.


    Though Hart, 17, died tragically in April from complications of mononucleosis following a visit to the doctor, she will be making a difference and helping the department save lives for years to come.
    Her mother, Denise (Neesey) Alt, took her daughter's savings account funds and then raised additional funds to help purchase a new cardiac monitor/defibrillator for the fire department.  This defibrillator, which was put in service last week, will replace an older model to better serve the community's advanced life support needs.
    On October 27, the Fire Company presented a plaque posthumously in appreciation of the contributions made possible by  Jessie.

Her mother accepted this award in honor of her daughter.
    Among Jessie’s many interests was a strong sense of community service. Her mother tirelessly solicited funds to support the department, seeking to fulfill her daughter’s wish to give back to her community.
    These donations funded the purchase of the updated 12 lead cardiac monitor for this Advanced Life Support agency to provide care.
    Montvale Fire Chief Scott Hawkins said the new equipment purchased is the same equipment that would be used in an emergency room. It serves as a cardiac monitor and can be used to restart someone’s heart, if needed.
    “It’s replacing an old (extremely) outdated one that we had,” Hawkins said. The fire company is already licensed as an Advanced Life Support agency.
    “This allows us to keep everything up to date,” he said.
    “That’s her way of continuing to give, putting that money into that equipment,” Hawkins said of the donation. “We could ultimately save many lives with it.”
     Hawkins, along with Tamara Dennis, were among the firefighter/paramedics who responded to the 911 call placed by Jessie’s mother back in Apri