At 1 p.m. on Monday, these hometown heroes will be recognized for
their willingness to take action in a life-or-death situation. The
ceremony will take place in the Lincoln Conference Room on the first
floor of Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln.
Gustafson will not be able to attend the ceremony on Monday
because he is set to return to his job as a sales supervisor at Da-Com
Corp. in St. Louis that day.
"I want to thank everyone for getting involved and getting to me
very quickly," said Gustafson, who was able to celebrate his 25th
wedding anniversary on Jan. 20 and his 54th birthday on Jan. 26,
thanks these quick-thinking Heartsaver Heroes. "I definitely want to
express my thanks and gratefulness again. I was absolutely tickled
to death to get that second chance."
When Gustafson collapsed, Olson, Ramlow, Ritchhart and Hobler
were cheering on Lincoln from the stands and rushed to his side to
begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation while 911 was called. Soon
after, Collinsville High School athletic director Matt Badgley,
Collinsville High School athletic trainer Amanda Baugher and
Collinsville Fire Chief Peter Stehman arrived with the automated
external defibrillator and used it to administer a shock that
restarted Gustafson's heart.
The AED was available thanks to an Illinois state law called the
Colleen O'Sullivan Act, requiring the equipment to be on-site at all
times in all schools and public athletic facilities. O'Sullivan, a
staff attorney for the Illinois House of Representatives, died of
heart complications in 2002 after exercising at a health club.
Gov. Pat Quinn was a driving force behind that landmark
legislation and also helped create the Heartsaver AED Fund, which
helps provide matching grants to schools, park district facilities
and fitness facilities.
"It was a team effort," said J.R. Dietl, president and director
of training at Contemporary Life Saving Training in O'Fallon and a
member of the American Heart Association's Illinois Advocacy
Committee. "The whole reason Gary Gustafson is alive today is that
the bystanders acted quickly, the school implemented the program,
people were trained, and the AED was easily accessible. Everything
that should have happened did."
The American Heart Association is proud to honor Olson, Ramlow,
Ritchhart and Hobler with the Heartsaver Hero Award for their quick
thinking and heroic actions to save Gustafson's life.
At an event in Collinsville on Feb. 6, the American Heart
Association honored Quinn with the Heart Champion Award for his
pioneering efforts to strengthen the emergency medical chain of
survival by promoting lifesaving AED technology throughout Illinois,
and presented Heartsaver Hero awards to Baugher, Badgley and Stehman.
"People who use a few simple skills can achieve something
extraordinary -- they save lives," Dietl said. "Today, these
Heartsavers are the heroes, but all Illinois residents can easily
become tomorrow's heroes by knowing to call 911 and being ready to
perform CPR or use an AED."
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The American Heart Association is also challenging all central
Illinois residents to learn how to perform CPR on someone who
suddenly collapses and stops breathing normally and is encouraging
businesses, public sites and other entities to consider implementing
programs making automated external defibrillators and trained
rescuers available to administer a potentially lifesaving electric
shock to the heart.
Sudden cardiac arrest is most often caused by an irregular heart
rhythm called ventricular fibrillation. This irregular rhythm causes
the heart's electrical impulses to become chaotic, causing the
victim to collapse and stop breathing normally. Unless a normal
heart rhythm is restored, death will follow in a matter of minutes.
In fact, the American Heart Association estimates that for every
minute without defibrillation, a person's chances of survival
decreases by 7 percent to 10 percent.
Each year, more than 310,000 people across the country die from
coronary heart disease before reaching a hospital or in an emergency
room. Most of those deaths result from sudden cardiac arrest, and 75
percent to 80 percent occur at home. When the arrest occurs outside
the hospital setting, most victims die because CPR and
defibrillation were not provided or were provided too late. Less
than a third of sudden cardiac arrest victims receive CPR when they
need it. Effective CPR can help make the difference between life and
death, buying valuable time and increasing the likelihood that the
victim can successfully be defibrillated by an electric shock.
The American Heart Association provides a full range of training
and information to help people learn to perform effective CPR. For
additional information, visit
shopcpranytime.org or call 1-877-AHA-4CPR.
About the American Heart Association -- Founded in 1924, the
association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health
organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart
disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases
-- America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers -- the organization funds
cutting-edge research, conducts lifesaving public and professional
educational programs, and advocates to protect public health. To
learn more or join us in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1
or visit americanheart.org.
American Heart Association file received from Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital]