Riley Park Tire employees save colleague’s life

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Wayne Cooper, center, is back to work as a mechanic at Riley Park Tire after Jason Clark, left, and Keegan Hart, right, saved his life upon administering CPR to him in March when he had a heart attack.

GREENFIELD – How do you thank two co-workers for saving your life?

“I’m trying to figure it out,” said Wayne Cooper.

The Greenfield mechanic is back to work at Riley Park Tire after a heart attack on the job had two of his colleagues administer CPR to him as they waited for an ambulance to arrive.

Keegan Hart and Jason Clark are just happy their friend is back to work and doing well, saying they were simply at the right place at the right time and don’t need to be thanked.

“He doesn’t have to pay us back, he’s our friend,” Clark said. “The heroes are the people who do it every day; and they don’t get the respect they deserve for that – military, first responders, police officers.”

Cooper wasn’t feeling well the morning of March 7, but decided to go to work anyway. He remembers standing on a stepstool and feeling dizzy, and falling.

Hart rushed to his side and observed Cooper’s chest was moving a little bit, then stopped and his eyes went to the back of his head. Emergency dispatch was called but Hart, a 2008 Greenfield-Central High School graduate, knew something needed to be done in the meantime. He remembered CPR from being trained as a lifeguard and being on the high school swim team. He began chest compressions and breathing for Cooper.

Sales associate Clark soon came over and relieved Hart, also administering CPR to Cooper. It’s been more than 40 years since Clark learned it from Eastern Hancock Middle School health class, but he said he just knew what to do and felt compelled to help out.

“You could tell by the color, you need to get the blood going; he was blue in the face,” Clark said. “You just gotta quit worrying about the consequences and just jump in and do something. This is your fellow man.”

Police and medics shortly arrived and took over, rushing Cooper to a hospital in an ambulance. Cooper said that’s what he remembers next – waking up in an ambulance.

Cooper spent two days there recovering, having surgery with two stents. He returned to work about a month later.

He’s given up smoking and is being consistent with his medications. Cooper says taking better care of himself is about all he can do to thank his co-workers for saving his life.

“If I’d have stayed home (that day), I’d have been wrung,” Cooper said, because he would have been home alone when it happened.

“I feel amazing,” Cooper added. “I took it easy for three and a half weeks and starting this week, I have done everything I’ve done in the past. I’m back to full swing and not having any issues. I can’t thank them enough, that’s for sure.”