Edina honors SpartanNash workers for saving man’s life

The Edina Fire-Rescue & Inspections and Police departments honored 16 employees of SpartanNash for their quick action that saved a coworker’s life earlier this year.
Each person received a city of Edina Public Safety Certificate of Merit plaque during a March 3 ceremony at SpartanNash’s offices on France Avenue.
At approximately 1 p.m. Jan. 11, a 54-year-old employee collapsed without warning while working at his desk. His coworkers reacted quickly, determining he was not breathing and did not have a pulse. While paramedics were en route, the coworkers began CPR and retrieved an automatic external defibrillator. The SpartanNash team quickly used the AED to deliver three shocks to the unconscious man.
Those efforts resulted in him regaining a pulse. He continued to improve as he was transported to the hospital, where he went into surgery for a life-saving procedure.
“The actions these
people took really changed the course of this individual’s future,” Edina Fire Chief Tom Schmitz said before handing out the honors along with Edina Police Chief Dave Nelson. Schmitz noted that few people who lose a pulse and stop breathing outside of a hospital setting are revived successfully.
The man has recovered and returned to work. He and his wife watched Friday’s ceremony from the back of the room.
“The city of Edina is grateful to SpartanNash for providing CPR training to their employees,” Schmitz said.
SpartanNash is a grocery wholesaler headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan and has corporate offices in Edina. CPR and other emergency response training is voluntary, said SpartanNash Executive Vice President of Legal Kathy Mahoney, but many people sign up.
“We just want to thank you and tell you how grateful we are,” Mahoney told the 16 employees at the ceremony in front of about 200 SpartanNash workers.
One of those 16 employees who took the training, Office Services
Supervisor Margaret Jenkins was called from her office that day for the emergency.
“When I got there, he just wasn’t alive,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins described the roles of those 16 employees during the eight minutes they treated the man while waiting for paramedics. She and others did chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing. Someone grabbed the defibrillator. A person was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, relaying what was happening so the paramedics would know when they arrived. Other people held open the elevator doors, kept onlookers away and cleared hallways to ensure the man could be taken quickly to the ambulance.
Fire Capt. Ryan Quinn and his crew who responded that day were in attendance at the ceremony to acknowledge those employees. Many of the honored employees were bashful about receiving the certificates. Like Jenkins, most of them just reacted to the emergency and did what they could to help.
“To know that that man in this building was not alive and to look across and see him today, standing there, is cool,” Jenkins said. “It’s amazing what one person can do.”