Clay Kaserne fitness center
Clay Kaserne fitness center (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WIESBADEN, Germany - Sports and Fitness Director Kevin Ringgold was working at the Wiesbaden Fitness Center and was the first at the scene to a man lying unconscious near a treadmill.

“I immediately started running toward the customer and called for Maria (Diaz) to assist,” he said in a statement.

Diaz, installation fitness coordinator, and Ringgold secured the person’s neck, they said. Diaz said she checked for signs of breathing and determined that he needed cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

“Maria immediately started chest compressions and (staff member) James Mitchell retrieved the AED (automated external defibrillator),” Ringgold said. He then directed other staff members to call for emergency assistance and asked them to clear the building, he said.

With the AED connected, the machine began analyzing the heart rate and delivered a shock to the patient, Ringgold said.

“Once it delivered the shock--the most beautiful sound in the world--the man’s breath,” Diaz said.

Two customers assisted with lifesaving procedures and Maj. Rafal Szelagowski, G-3 Effects, U.S. Army Europe and Africa, assisted with CPR, Ringgold said.

Szelagowski had just completed his workout before the incident happened and was packing up, he said. He had been downstairs and had heard a loud thump from the second floor. He ran upstairs and saw the man on the ground and later assisted with rescue breaths.

Lifesaving efforts continued, and within about five minutes, first responders from the Directorate of Emergency Services arrived, with emergency host nation medical personnel arriving shortly thereafter to administer oxygen and transport the patient to hospital.

“I’m relieved that he’s alive; that we were able to save a life,” Diaz said. “The trainings that we do here on a regular basis allow us to do that. I know everybody says thank you and it’s the right thing to do, but that’s our job. We work in a gym and these things can happen, especially when you’re working out.”

Garrison Commander Col. Mario Washington and Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Truchon showed up and helped carry the stretcher downstairs to the emergency vehicle.

"Maria provided outstanding care in this situation,” Washington said. “I personally observed her providing medical assistance and reassurance to the gentleman. The overall response was impressive. The cooperation between our staff, host nation doctors and medical professionals was top-notch. I am very proud of our MWR staff that was on-hand assisting with this effort. It was obvious they work well together, and this was not their first time responding to an incident such as this."