Political rally brings rally to save senior's life


by Brian Farrell


Posted on September 21, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 21 at 11:40 PM

NEWPORT NEWS -- November will bring at least 2 important days for Terry Mills. He will celebrate his 80th birthday, and he will be able to vote.

What makes those days stand out is that he almost wasn't here to do either.

"I've had the problems in the upper heart, part of the heart. Never had any problems on the lower, which is the ones, if they stop, everything stops," explained Mills from his hospital bed in Riverside Regional Medical Center. "That's what happened. The lower part of the heart had stopped, totally."

Mills and his wife, Young, were standing outside the Ferguson Center for the Arts Tuesday when he dropped to the ground as someone behind the couple grabbed him and slumped down with him so Mills didn't hit the pavement. The Millses were in line to hear vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan speak at a rally.

"His face is turning blue, and his tongue is coming up," recalled Young Mills. "I was just panicking. I just was asking somebody to call 9-1-1."

Also in line were Todd and Alecia Driscoll. They ran behind schedule that day, but the delay would help save Mills' life.

"We heard somebody hollering, 'Is there a doctor nearby?! Is there a doctor here?!'" Todd Driscoll told 13News.

Driscoll, not a doctor, but he is a firefighter/EMT with James City County Fire Department. His wife, Alecia, is a Williamsburg/James City County sheriff's deputy and encouraged her husband to do what he could. Driscoll began performing CPR on Mills.

"To see the improvement, you know, just doing the CPR was incredible, you know, it was a little nerve-racking. I was a nervous wreck, you know, but seeing the improvement in him, just me doing it, was great to see," said Driscoll.

His wife tried to comfort Mills' wife. Both women soon realized they knew each other since Alecia Driscoll was 6 years old. She, also, played softball with one of the Millses' daughters.

"Here's my daughter's childhood friend who was praying for him, and her husband was doing CPR for him," noted Young Mills.

Also outside the Ferguson Center was Michael Morisi, President/COO of PEOPLExpress, the start-up airline that will be based in Newport News. He grabbed a defibrillator and used it on Mills.

"We were in the right place, and all these angels around him, and, then, helped him to bring him alive," said Mills' wife.

"We missed the rally. We went in, and we were bummed for a second, and Todd turned around and said to me, 'We're not supposed to be in there. This is where we're supposed to be and we're done. We've done what we needed to do today,'" Alecia Driscoll said. "'If I had five more minutes, you know, you always say,' and, clearly, they've had more than five minutes, and we're so happy about that. His life is most important. Life is most important."

Mills had a defibrillator implanted at Riverside Regional Medical Center where the Drisolls visited him Friday, the first time since his heart stopped.

"Everybody had to be in the right place at the right time. That was the amazing part of the thing, and that don't happen," said Mills.