On Saturday as people gather at Heritage Port for the Annual Heart Walk, one Wheeling man will be in the front row.
62-year-old Jeff Johnson is one of the event’s featured “survivors” and his story is dramatic.
Four years ago, he was playing tennis with three friends who were doctors when he felt faint.
He was in cardiac arrest.
They started CPR, along with a nurse who joined in.
What happened next made all the difference.
“She said he’s not gonna make it, he needs a defibrillator. And then Dr. Harold Pickens runs into the tennis facility. He says they have one there. They had just purchased it a couple years before. He runs in, gets the defibrillator, and then Nurse Chrissy hooked me up, shocked me, and all my vital signs came back,” said Johnson.
Now Jeff works out at the gym three days a week and has come out of retirement to help out at his son’s business.
He credits Mary Velez with saving his life, since it was her ongoing campaign that led to the AED being placed at the tennis facility.