Mendota Heights honors those who saved man’s life, citizens leading the way

Two citizens, several first responders and a man who had to be brought back to life with their help now have a lifelong bond.

Thursday, at Mendota Heights City Hall, those who helped save his life were honored. That man, Ken Sperle of St. Paul, was also at the ceremony to thank and connect with those who did all the right things.

On an early December morning, Sperle was exercising at the Anytime Fitness in Mendota Heights when he collapsed. Police say he was not conscious or breathing. Fortunately, Sperle wasn’t alone at the gym — cYohuru Willams and Dan Goodstein, a former police officer, were close by.

“I immediately told [Williams] to call 911,” Goodstein said about the moment Sperle went down. “I remember rolling [Sperle over] and then immediately doing chest compressions [and Williams] brought the AED over.”

While Goodstein prepared the AED, short for automated external defibrillator, Williams let police officers inside the fitness center in time to give Sperle the lifesaving shock he needed.

“It’s moments like this that kind of remind us of the importance of savoring the sanctity of life, but then also recognizing the importance of community,” Williams said about Thursday’s ceremony.

One by one, Mendota Heights Mayor Stephanie Levine called them up to receive their award – including the police officer who pressed the button on the AED, Eric Wagman.

“They made it possible for [Sperle] to be still with us,” Wagman said about the citizen life-savers.

Also part of this lifelong bond were M Health Fairview paramedics Angie Smith and Megan Schwartz.

“Early defibrillation and CPR, that’s the reason why [Sperle] walked out of the hospital,” Smith said. “That’s why he’s still with his family and his loved ones.”

Everyone involved hopes this also serves as a reminder for people to learn what to do in situations like this. You can find CPR classes here.