ELYRIA – Councilman Jack Baird is back to work.
More than a month after the seasoned politician was sidelined by a heart attack, he returned Monday night to his seat in City Council chambers and was greeted with a round of applause.
“Thank you,” he said to well wishers who were surprised to see the Republican up and moving so soon after being hospitalized Oct. 31. “Like I say, it’s better to be seen than viewed. It’s good to be back. I’m not 100 percent yet, but I would say I’m 75 or 80.”
Baird, 65, tried hard to keep Monday’s Council meeting focused on city business, but too many people wanted to welcome him back to let his presence go unnoticed. Finally, toward the end of the meeting he let the crowd know just what their thoughts, prayers and visits meant during his recovery.
“I can’t say enough about the family, close friends and even causal acquaintances that either visited or thought of me,” he said. “I can honestly say it feels good to be an Elyrian.”
Baird’s presence provided a unique coincidence for the night — he was able to tell from personal experience how LifeCare Ambulance Inc. operates in the city. The private ambulance provider was the topic of discussion during the Council’s Strategic Planning Committee meeting.
“I can tell you their response time when they came to my house was less than six minutes,” he said. “They got there when I needed them.”
Baird credits his wife, Mitzi, and daughter, Savanna, with saving his life. When his heart attack struck, Mitzi immediately started CPR while Savanna called 911. He was treated at EMH Elyria Medical Center and released by mid-November.