Summerside officer awarded for making the extra effort

A sudden illness and a chance meeting changed the lives of two Summerside residents.

Back in October 2015, cellulitis and a high temperature caused Karen MacLean to need a hospital. First responders needed to find another way to get the woman out of her second-storey apartment since obesity and her medical condition left her unable to go down the stairs.

Const. Jonathan Kennedy of the Summerside Police was one of the people who helped her. Two hours later first responders lowered her in a bucket truck to a waiting ambulance.

MacLean lived to tell the tale – and nominated Kennedy for the Municipal Police Officer of the Year award, for which he received runner up.

The way Kennedy handled the unique incident and his follow-up visits to MacLean and her family secured his nomination. Kennedy sat with MacLean’s mother for hours in the hospital cafeteria.

MacLean spent the following four-and-a-half months hospitalized and mostly bedridden. She lost more than 300 pounds and learned to walk again, with the support of straps hung from the ceiling. Kennedy visited her often, following up with her husband and mother, checking in on her heart test results.

“This professional and kind-hearted man is my hero and forever friend,” MacLean said of Kennedy. “We lived through it together and learned as we went."

Kennedy -- who served in Afghanistan and at the Canadian embassy in Tokyo – said the situation with MacLean was one of the most dramatic he’s seen.

“I was just kind to her, she really needed help holding it together - it was such a stressful situation,” he said.

 “She’s an amazing person -- she turned her life around and learned to walk again.”

Not only did MacLean turn her own life around, but she has given back to the hospital where she got well. She spoke to more than 170 health professionals about help for bariatric patients and made sure the Prince County Hospital now has the resources to treat obese patients. The day she was admitted she waited for a bariatric bed to come from Halifax; now the hospital has 10.

“I wanted to make sure the next person through the door has a smoother sail,” MacLean said.

Kennedy was touched by MacLean’s nomination, but says he was just doing his job.

“She needed support, and that’s what police officers are there for.”

There are more than 200 police officers serving Prince Edward Island with the RCMP and three municipal police departments – Charlottetown, Summerside, and Kensington, in addition to specialized policing services provided by security police officers at UPEI and Prince Edward Island’s conservation officers.

Get more information on Policing Services in Prince Edward Island. 

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