Ontario cardiac arrest survivor gives back to those who saved him

AED presented to DNR Warden Shawna Stringham

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – In August 2020, News 8 Now’s Mal Meyer covered the story of Brad Feltz and the first responders who saved his life after Feltz suffered a sudden cardiac arrest while on a bike ride in Ontario.

Thanks to his fellow bicyclists who performed CPR, DNR Conservation Warden Shawna Stringham, Vernon County Sherriff’s Deputy Jake Johnson, and an automated external defibrillator (AED) kit, Feltz came through after spending several days in a medically induced coma.

It’s a tragic event that most people don’t survive – in fact – only about 6 to 10 percent of Americans do. But with the correct emergency training and tools, victims have a better chance.

That’s why Warden Stringham requested an AED for her vehicle following Feltz’s collapse. Stringham wanted to make sure she had everything she needed for similar events in the future, and now the Feltz family is paying it forward.

After hearing Brad’s story, the Wisconsin Masonic Foundation and the La Crosse Masonic Lodge were able to privately raise $950 and fill Stringham’s request and purchase an AED kit for her car. Brad and his wife Shawn Feltz proudly presented the kit to Stringham in front of the La Crosse Masonic Center on Wednesday.

“This is a way for me to be giving back to the community that was there when I needed you the most and the community that saved my life,” said Feltz as he handed the Warden her new life-saving kit. “But the importance is having people out there that know CPR correctly and to have AED’s available in the community,” he added.

He’s right. When bystanders intervene by giving CPR and using an AED, survival rates from suffering a sudden cardiac arrest can triple.

Warden Stringham is being trained on how to use the AED by Deputy Jake Johnson. He’ll be receiving the Vernon County Sherriff Department’s Life Saving Award in April for his role in keeping Brad Feltz alive.