Life Saver Award photo

Union County Manager Mark Watson (left) presented the Lifesaver Award to Craig Greenlee (middle) in a surprise ceremony that included Sheriff Eddie Cathey (right).

Inmate Health Nurse Supervisor Craig Greenlee is being honored with Union County’s first Lifesaver Award for his split-second thinking and situational awareness to potentially save the life of a colleague at the Union County Jail.

On December 29, 2020, two Detention Officers were processing inmate mail, when a white powdery substance fell from a Christmas card into one of the officer’s hands, according to a report from the Union County Sheriff’s Office. As he handed the card to the other officer, the white powdery substance became airborne resulting in the other officer accidentally inhaling some of the powder.

As Younts became dizzy, Greenlee immediately responded and observed his colleague experiencing what appeared to be signs of a potential drug overdose. Greenlee quickly retrieved Narcan, a medication that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose, and administered it. The officer in distress was taken to the hospital where she was treated and released.

She credits Greenlee with saving her life. Detectives and crime scene investigators report testing the powder, which was confirmed to be Fentanyl — a powerful synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It can cause respiratory issues and even death.

“Extraordinary circumstances such as this one deserves extraordinary recognition,” said County Manager Mark Watson before a surprise presentation outside the Union County Sheriff’s Office on February 22. “Craig’s medical expertise and quick actions resulted in saving a colleague’s life and there is no award that can truly convey our appreciation for his efforts.”

The Management Team recognized Greenlee’s actions by surprising him with the Lifesaver Award.

“It is a great honor to receive this award, but a greater honor is seeing my co-worker and friend each day she comes to work,” Greenlee said.

Following the presentation of the Lifesaver Award, Sheriff Eddie Cathey presented Greenlee with a plaque in recognition of the Inmate Health program at the Union County Jail, which started approximately 10 years ago.

“The Inmate Health Nurses are greatly appreciative of the recognition from Sheriff Cathey and his staff,” Greenlee said. “Inmate Health works diligently and relentlessly to provide much needed medical care to our diverse population and even more so throughout the COVID- 19 pandemic. Nursing staff have worked very hard in the interpreting, processing, and implementing guidelines from the CDC and Union County Public Health to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our congregate setting. Between mid-December 2020 and mid-February 2021, we have processed more than 1,300 rapid tests to test for the virus among our diverse population and Sheriff’s Office personnel. ...”

As a recipient of the Lifesaver Award, Greenlee was given $250. The Lifesaver Award is given to “Union County employees whose selfless actions result in saving someone’s life.”