Stork Award presented to Stevens County deputies, EMS, and Cyrus first responders

The birth of a baby is miraculous. However, when that birth takes place quickly and outside of a hospital setting, it is also scary. That is why law enforcement personnel and first responders are trained to make a delivery in all kinds of situations. That training has not been utilized in Stevens County for several years until May 11, 2023.

On that day, two Stevens County deputies, Cyrus first responders and Stevens County Ambulance Emergency Medical staff were called to help with a delivery at the home of Kody and Alisha Livengood who live between Morris and Cyrus. Alisha was expecting the couple’s third child but was still awaiting the due date. 

On the morning of May 11, Alisha went to work at Lake Region in Morris. She was having a few pains but they were minor so she went on with her work. After finishing her shift she went home and had a normal family night with her husband and two daughters, Sadie, 3, and Mallory, 5. The pains continued but were not severe. 

She helped her husband put the girls to bed and then went to lay down. She woke up at 11:45 p.m. in terrible pain. She hadn’t considered that she was going into labor because her first two births came after being induced. This was a very different experience for the couple. 

Once again the pain subsided but Alisha thought they should head to the hospital. Her husband called Alisha’s mother, Holly Riley, to watch the girls while they went. Five minutes later she told Kody that they probably needed to get an ambulance because she knew she would not make it during the drive to Morris.

The next minutes seemed like hours. Kody stayed on the phone with dispatchers while they waited for the ambulance and emergency personnel to arrive. The first to arrive were Sheriff Deputies Carl Aschenwitz and Andrew Messner. They immediately went to work assisting with the birth. For Achenewitz, it was familiar as he has four children of his own and was present at their births. Their training also kicked in. 

Kody remained in the entry of the home waiting for EMS when he heard “we have a head.” He knew then that the baby had arrived. Luke Frederick Livengood came into the world at 1:05 a.m. weighing 7 lb. 6 oz. The couple was ecstatic that everything went well and was not aware that they were having a boy. 

In the meantime, more emergency personnel arrived including three Cyrus First Responders – Beth Huebner, Joseph Dalen and John Ettesvold and three EMS crew – Tori Nichols-Kraft, Gene Kodadek and Dan Anagnost. The bedroom was pretty full of people willing to help. Sadie woke up with all the commotion and was excited to hear the cries of her baby brother. 

Alisha and baby Luke were prepped to go in the ambulance and then taken to Stevens Community Medical Center where they remained for one day. On May 22, a special ceremony was held for the deputies, EMS personnel and first responders who helped that night and as an added twist, it was during EMS Week.  A Stork Award certificate and pin was awarded to each of them and they can proudly wear that symbol of helping with the birth. The pins were different for the EMS and deputies.

Alisha and Kody are very thankful for the response from law enforcement and emergency personnel. “We are so so thankful. They really do a good job and they care.” stated Alisha. “With all the negativity out there, it is a testimony to the good they do and you just never know when you will need them. We are over the moon thankful.”

During the ceremony EMS director Josh Fischer also commended the people who helped that night. “When we think of the different types of calls that we may be called to at any given moment,” Fisher stated. “I’m not sure any of them are more nerve wracking, terrifying, exciting or rewarding than a childbirth call. Anytime a family brings a new life into the world, it’s a reason to celebrate. When one of our crews gets to be there and be a part of it, even more so a cause for celebration and recognition.”

Deputy Aschenwitz summed it up “Everything went well. Mom and baby are both healthy and that is the most important thing.”