2-25-2007 and 4-3-2011
day Bob Price died and returned to tell the tale
woke weakly, as from an unremarkable dream. But the floor felt coarsely
real. So did that bilious limpness brought by the dull pain robbing
him of air. He felt hands and almost heard a voice repeating "I love
He reclaimed enough consciousness
to behold a breathlessly beautiful face beaming both reassurance and
apprehension. She did not speak, he could not.
Strong arms lifted him
away. She gave him a thumbs up, he returned the gesture, then she evaporated
along with everything else.
North Las Vegas Assemblyman
Bob Price had journeyed among the grateful dead and lived to
tell the tale. Starched stiff on the floor of the Reno airport for some
20 minutes, his heart and lungs had stopped while the clock took a couple
of laps without him.
Nevada Assemblyman Bob Price greets Rosalind Clarke of Aptos, Calif.,
the former stranger who saved his life. Price was not feeling well
on March 24 when he embarked on a flight from Las Vegas to Reno
for a legislative hearing. Had he stayed home alone, he would probably
have not survived. Attributing his feeling sick to low blood sugar
levels, the diabetic Price, 61, ate a bag of M&M's on the flight
to Reno. "Peanuts, I tasted peanuts," Clarke said after administering
mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. She presented a gum ball machine filled
with peanut M&M's to Mr. Price as a get-well present.
Sandi Krenzer, D-Las Vegas, who had been traveling with him to
a legislative meeting, screamed for help as passersby glanced over,
then continued their scurry through the maze.
"I love you, Bob," Krenzer
sobbed like a cheerleader mistakenly assigned to a public execution.
Travelers flocked like
sheep in the middle of a road, bleating at the unexpected Nevada entertainment
as Bob Price turned smurf purple.
Then a little girl stepped
forward. To disinterested gawkers she may have looked like a fashion
model fresh from the pages of Vogue or Cosmo. But she was really a waif
named Roz who had watched helplessly many years before as adults tried
and failed to revive another man turning blue, her daddy.
The child remembered
and reached across the years. The daughter learned cardiopulmonary resuscitation
when she grew up, but had never used the skill. Rosalind Clarke
wasn't even supposed to be in Reno when she got her chance.
Blustery weather had
frightened her mother out of flying home on schedule. The next day,
they arrived at the airport a half-hour late - just in time to see a
man collapse. Perhaps her father had sent her.
Heroism bursts to the
surface from a reservoir deep within. Guardian angels neither think
before acting nor look before leaping. Galvanized by primal fear that
witnessing death will kill the witness, the chosen morph into supermen.
Rosalind Clarke would
look good in a cape. Dressed in elegant clothes and sporting pixy perfect
frosted hair, the slightly-built woman without hesitation attempted
to inflate the lungs of a stranger twice her size. The disparity forced
her to resort to double-breathing, the equivalent of sprinting while
For a few frenzied moments
on a hard airport floor, a four-lunged human entity struggled for survival.
When Price revived, Roz Clarke retained little ability to speak and
resorted to the thumbs-up gesture.
University of Nevada Regent Nancy Price, left, and Rosalind Clarke
talk at Washoe Med. Mrs. Price was on Air National Guard duty at
Naval Air Station Lemoore in California on March 24 when her husband
suffered a heart attack at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. One
of the airport firefighters who responded to the distress call was
a former air guard member and personally knew the Prices. His knowledge
of military communications enabled him to quickly notify Mrs. Price,
who immediately flew to Reno. She is completing her six-year term
on the board of regents and has announced her candidacy for the
GOP nomination in Nevada's first congressional district. The seat
is being vacated by Rep. John Ensign, R-Las Vegas.
wouldn't have done it, I wouldn't have put my mouth on his," a hotel
worker later told Clarke, expressing a not unfounded fear. Today,
a kiss can be lethal. Last week, a child with strep throat bit a man
on the hand, killing him within 24 hours.
Such detachment has
spawned a new class of bystander, the actively passive. "Straighten
his leg!" shouted someone in line.
"I was busy. Why didn't
he come over and do it himself?" Mrs. Clarke wonders.
screaming for a doctor finally paid off as one walked up, saw that
Clarke had succeeded in reviving the victim, and promptly scampered
off to his flight, refusing to even leave his name.
Monday, Bob Price underwent triple-bypass heart surgery at Washoe
Medical Center. The night before, he had a special visitor from California.
Roz Clarke arrived
to hugs and tears from the entire Price family. She brought a tiny
pewter angel, pinned it to Bob Price's gown, then read a prayer she
had composed on hotel stationery.
She came back "because
I remembered an Indian belief that you become responsible if you save
a life God wanted to take."
Roz returned to preserve
a mutual triumph over death. Ironically, she fell ill at her hotel
Wednesday and today lies in St. Mary's Regional Medical Center with
an undetermined ailment.
She's got a lot of
angels watching over her.
Say a prayer, and take
care of each other.
Roz Clarke got picked
and performed heroically.
Tomorrow, it could
BACKGROUND ON TWO CLOSE FRIENDS
Bob Price is an electrician
by trade. He has been a member of International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers Union Local
357 in Las Vegas for 42 years.
Assemblyman Bob Price and his guardian angel, Rosalind Clarke
of Aptos, Calif., at Washoe Medical Center. The pewter angel pin
which Clarke gave Price just before his triple-bypass surgery
can be seen on the pocket of his gown above Mrs. Clarke's right
He was first elected to
the Nevada State Assembly in 1974 and stands second in seniority only
to Speaker Joe Dini, D-Yerington.
He is most identified as
longtime chairman of the assembly taxation committee and as a strong
supporter of workers rights.
He is seeking re-election
Price is also known for passing out songbooks and playing his guitar
on the floor of the house during the round-the-clock sessions which
close every legislative session.
He has a whimsical sense of humor. When the state dedicated the "Extra-Terrestrial
Highway" (State Route 375) in 1996, several members of the cast of
the soon-to-be-released movie blockbuster "Independence Day" showed
Not to be outdone, Price donned a Darth Vader helmet and upstaged
Rosalind Clarke, 38, worked for the Santa Cruz County, Calif., Dept.
of Education for 17 years.
She learned CPR while there
and is now studying to become a surgical assistant.
UPDATE SINCE THE SUNDAY
Bob Price was discharged from Reno's Washoe Medical Center on Monday,
April 6, and is convalescing in southern Nevada.
Rosalind Clarke underwent
surgery at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center in Reno that same evening.
She is recovering. You may send e-mail greetings
to either Mr. Price or Mrs. Clarke via Andrew Barbano. You may
send greetings to Mrs. Price
Be well. Raise hell.
BARBWIRE UPDATE 2-25-2007:
Bob Price Park will
be dedicated in southern Nevada at 9:00 a.m. on March 3, 2007.
The park is located at the corner of Bonnie Lane and East Lake Blvd.,
just south of Nellis Air Force Base.
Price and Elvis
Note: The Bob and Roz story and some of the above photos were later
picked up by the local Santa Cruz newspaper and the 1,000,000+ circulation
Woman's World magazine.
1998, 2007, 2011 Andrew
Barbano is a member of Communications
Workers of America Local 9413. He is a Reno-based syndicated columnist,
a 29-year Nevadan, editor of U-News
and campaign manager for Democratic
candidate for Governor, State Senator Joe Neal.
Barbwire by Barbano
has originated in the Daily Sparks
(Nev.) Tribune since 1988.