Survivor Stories

Survivor Stories

An Abrupt End To Lunch

Larry Osborn, Pueblo, CO – 60 at time of event (2008)

Every Monday they get together for a business related lunch. For fifteen years Larry had been a reliable lunch partner. But, on the third Monday of January, 2008 Larry walked out on them. He didn’t say anything, he just left. He got in the car and drove away. Then he crashed it into a parked truck, at around 30 mph. Lucky for him, someone saw it all and called 9-1-1.


Driveway Desperation

Rick Mylin, Warsaw, IN – 45 at time of event (2008)

A big box hardware store was nearly the end of Rick. It was a Saturday afternoon, and while RIck doesn’t remember anything about it, his wife said she’d called him to ask if he was OK. He’d indicated earlier that he wasn’t feeling well. Jo Lynn noticed Rick sounded odd.
“She asked all the questions, ‘pain here, pain there’ but the only thing I said was it felt like I’d pulled a muscle in my shoulder.” She suggested he come home and take a rest. Good thing he did.

Still Flying High

George Andren, Tucson, AZ – 57 at time of event (2004)

Of all the places, and all the times for Colonel George Andren (ret.) to suffer a life threatening event, it was not supposed to be his son’s graduation dinner in Columbus, OH. This thirty year veteran had seen service in the Middle East during wartime, not to mention the countless hours spent flying missions in his C130 workhorse. Just over a year of retirement and this new civilian’s life was nearly brought to a close by a sudden cardiac arrest.

Pulled Out The Whistle

Drew White, Michigan City, IN – 29 at time of event (2007)

Drew White

I was asked by a friend in the summer of 2007 if I might be interested in officiating YMCA basketball games over the winter. Not having officiated a basketball game since I was in college over seven years ago, I thought about it and thought it might be fun to pull out the whistle and have a go at it. The exercise, not to mention the money, would be good for me.

Shallow Water Blackout

Erick Itoman, Pittsburgh, PA – 33 at time of event (2006)

Erick Itoman

On May 13, 2006, I suffered what is known as “shallow water blackout.”
At the time of the accident, I was in the middle of an Internal Medicine Resident at the University of Hawaii. There were three of us that day. Greg Sakamoto an Internal Medicine Prelim Resident (whom is now doing Dermatology at Harvard), Kalani, an experienced diver (friend of Greg), and me.

A Determined Chef Who Can't Stay Down

Doug Chrisman, 18, Hyde Park, NY – 18 at time of event (2008)

Doug ChrismanMonday morning, 7:30am, Doug was busy skimming the stock in preparation for that day’s class. The stock didn’t make it. Doug did. His classmates at the CIA (The Culinary Institute of America that is) saw the freshman from Missouri collapse, and one of them ran to get the nurse. The chef called the Safety Office and an AED was immediately brought to the scene. Doug was unresponsive and his pulse had disappeared, his face was turning blue — they only had minutes before he would die.

This Randonnée Is Not Finished

Todd Black, Seattle, WA – 56 at time of event (2008)

Todd is an avid Randonneur, that is he likes to get on his bicycle and leave town for an extended trip. This is called a Randonnée, which is a French word that means excursion or long journey. Randonneurs do not compete exactly, they think of it as more a test of endurance, self-sufficiency and developing their bicycle touring skills. Just the pronunciation is difficult enough, let alone cycling over several hundred miles in a specified time period!

One Sunday morning last month, Marty, Todd’s wife, got a phone call to say he had fallen off his bike. She put her head down on her desk and cried. This was the second time she had received a call from the paramedics. That first time it had been nearly midnight in Spring, and she learned that, although Todd hadn’t broken any bones, he had suffered some serious damage. This time she expected something bad had happened, but not this bad.

This Sailor Didn't Die, And Now Saves Lives

Paul Rittenhouse, Northport, NY – 45 at time of event (2005)

One warm Friday summer afternoon, Paul was on his way to get a new gadget for his sailboat. He’d just revitalized a 22 foot Ensign sailboat and needed a tension gauge to check the mainstays. He didn’t make it. Instead he crashed the car. It wasn’t exactly his fault, he was clinically dead at the time he collided with a tree on the side of the road, just outside the fire station and opposite a supermarket. The impact was not enough to deploy the airbags, but it did total his Jeep. Paul doesn’t have any recollection of the accident, nor much of the week in hospital afterwards. He knows what happened because he stays in contact with the witness who saved his life.

The Freshest Breath Of All

Tara Heinle, Rapid City, SD – 34 at time of event (2008)

Tara & Todd Heinle Tara and her husband, Todd, were taking a little time out after their summer vacation, and prior to the in-laws arriving for a visit. Luckily, they were at home that Wednesday morning.
Tara had just brushed her teeth, and was preparing for the morning shower. There was a noise, and her husband asked “What fell?” He got no answer and proceeded to investigate. Todd saw Tara on the floor of the bathroom. She had a certain look about her, and despite her being his wife, the look was familiar to him.
“My husband is a police officer and he said, ‘I’ve seen that look before,” and he started CPR right away.” First, he called 9-1-1.

The Treadmill Doesn't Stop

Mark Storace, Rocklin, CA – 46 at time of event (2007)

Mark StoraceIt was just another Tuesday afternoon in August. I am lucky enough in my job to be able to telecommute from home once a week. It was a fairly busy day taking conference call meetings and working on project tasks.

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