Workers at Akron Canton Regional Foodbank use AED to rescue man who suffered heart attack

Posted at 8:40 PM, Feb 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-02 21:15:19-05

Several workers at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank worked as a team and used an automated external defibrillator to rescue a volunteer who collapsed from a heart attack in the warehouse Wednesday morning.

"Yesterday was really a day I think we'll all never forget," said Foodbank CEO Dan Flowers.

A "code blue" was called around 10 a.m. when Horace Lewis, 87, collapsed to the floor at the facility on Opportunity Parkway in Akron.

Lewis, a volunteer for Bridging the Gap Ministries, was picking up food for people in need when he suffered a heart attack.

Employees raced into action, including Flowers who grabbed the AED.

"One thing is for sure is that we were going to do everything we could to make sure that we honored that man," he said.

Karen Sheppard, the office manager, removed the AED from the packaging and attached it to Lewis.

Flowers and Matt Petrick, the senior manager of operations, began CPR.

"Once the AED told me to start chest compressions, that's exactly what I did," Petrick said.

Sheppard then administered two shocks from the AED to Lewis' heart.

"It said, 'Clear, all clear.' And then it said, 'Be prepared to shock.' And then, there's a button on the machine, you just push and that gives the shock to the patient," Sheppard told News 5.

The employees continued life-saving measures until paramedics arrived and rushed Lewis to Akron General Medical Center.

"The AED was extraordinary yesterday. Anybody who sees this story, I hope you have an AED in your place of business," Flowers said.

Pastor Mary Michel, of Bridging the Gap Ministries, returned to the food bank on Thursday and was moved to tears as she thanked the workers who came to the aid of Lewis.

"Right now, if they hadn't done what they did, I wouldn't be standing here today talking to you. I would be planning his funeral. What they did is they gave us a day of hope," Michel said.

As of Thursday evening, the pastor said Lewis was stable in the intensive care unit.

Michel said the actions of the food bank employees was heroic, but they don't consider themselves heroes. Instead, they're thinking and praying for the senior citizen.

"Hopefully, it all works out and makes a full recovery," Petrick said.