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Aspirus St. Luke's Recognizes Two Citizen Heroes for CPR Skills

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Frank Bucar would not be alive if it weren't for two of his friends.

Those two friends, Steve Dudek and Tom Rzatkowski, stepped in to perform CPR on Frank when he collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest during a basketball game.

On Tuesday, April 23, Aspirus St. Luke's presented its first Citizen Hero Awards to Steve Dudek and Tom Rzatkowski at the Aspirus St. Luke's 18 th Annual EMS Recognition Event at the DECC.

"There are no words to say to a person who saved your life, besides 'Thank you'," said Frank. He added: "Everyone else out there – get CPR certified."

His wife, Leslie Bucar, was so thankful that her husband had been saved by his friends' CPR training that she and seven of Frank's relatives and friends also took a CPR class.

Lee Ann Harwarth, Aspirus St. Luke's Patient Care Services Director, said: "Aspirus St. Luke's is honored to present this award because it validates the importance of our community members in saving lives. Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death among adults in the United States and studies have shown that bystander CPR can improve a person's survival by as much as 30 percent."

The Aspirus St. Luke's EMS Recognition Event, now in its 18 th year, involved an afternoon education program, resulting in 3.5 continuing education credits for EMS professionals, and an evening dinner and awards ceremony. Awards were presented to members of Duluth Fire Department, Gold Cross Ambulance, Aspirus St. Luke's medical staff and – for the first time this year – two citizens.

Lori Bauman, Aspirus St. Luke's Trauma Program Manager, said: "This incident demonstrates how the person you save by learning CPR may be among your own friends or family. Most people probably think that a situation like this will never happen to them. That's probably what Steve and Tom thought until that eventful day. Fortunately for Frank, his friends knew CPR."