To say thank you to local law enforcement for their efforts in responding to their daughter Maggie’s accident, the McQuillen family is donating medical bags for the Jones County Sheriff’s Office to help them when they respond to future accidents.

The family reached out to Jones County Sheriff Greg Graver to inquire about what they could do to assist the department, and the packs seemed to be a fitting gesture that could have a big impact.

“This was just something that we could do to help everyone, not just the sheriff’s department, but everyone, because we’ve had nothing but an outpouring of support from people,” Matt McQuillen said. “It’s just a small gesture.”

“We are eternally indebted and eternally grateful,” Beth McQuillen said.

Matt McQuillen added that while neither he nor his wife were on the fire department or the ambulance service, this is a way he felt they could help.

Graver called it the ultimate gesture of passing things forward.

“I have no doubt it will help a lot of people,” he said.

Chief Deputy Brian Eckhardt said it was “amazing” that while this was an issue that would likely not affect the McQuillens again, they were still putting forth an effort to assist those that would find themselves in need of such attention in the future.

The packs will equip all of the sheriff’s full-time patrol vehicles and the part-time spare.

“We respond to hundreds of medical calls a year,” Graver said of the need. “It doesn’t even have to be a super-serious incident, but even if you have maybe three patients, you can start blowing through medical equipment…rather quickly. So, having a bag in each vehicle allows responders to get into each other’s bag if they need to.”

The pack includes equipment like bandages, tape, scissors, gauze, blood pressure gauges, ways to open airways and glucose paste for diabetics. The equipment they include, though helpful, is not required as part of a car’s equipment and would have had to come out of the sheriff’s office’s budget. That cost is dramatically lowered with the department now just having to worry about the relatively smaller cost of keeping the supplies in the bag filled.

The packs are in line with the “Stop the Bleed” campaign, where an emphasis has been placed on getting cuts or lacerations with blood contained as quickly as possible. Even seemingly small cuts can result in a substantial loss of blood if not stemmed.

“Even though EMS can put IV’s in, that doesn’t replace the red blood cells. Once they’re gone, the only way to get them back is a transfusion,” Graver said. “What we’ve learned is if we can stop that bleeding early on, if we need volume, we can add it, but we’re also saving them red blood cells, which keeps the brain and organs oxygenated.”

For incidents that occur away from a response hub, or late at night with a longer mobilization time, having medical supplies on hand for deputies can have a vast impact.

“A patrol car is already out moving. A lot of times, once they hear the call, they can roll. They are our first responders, and a lot of times their actions can really make an impact of these patients’ lives,” Graver said.

That quick and tiered response from those arriving to the scene can make a big difference, whether it be law enforcement, ambulance or even tow truck operators.