A celebration of thanks was held on Sunday, May 23 at the BGM Auditorium on behalf of the those involved in saving the life of Chad Coburn, 47, who had a heart attack on Oct. 14, 2020. Pictured are, front row, from left: Chad Coburn, Cael Coburn, Crystal Landuyt, Jessie Lacaeyse, Tina Welsh, Nick Staab, Chad Heyveld. Back row: Bev Minear, Codie Hansen, Jono Cheney, Mark Tiedt, Stephanie Baumgartner, Rob Nowotny, Leah Coleman, Dr. Joshua Stubblefield, Natalie Wilmes, Josh Humphrey, Christian Williams, Steve Plants and Jordan Kelly. Not present, but honored, David Klaaren, Stephanie Thys, Dan Stowell, Jessica Craig, Erin Olsen, Roy Grell, Craig Liscum and Dave Kitchel. Dr. Hulawa and the medical staff team at St. Luke’s in Cedar Rapids was also not present.
by J.O. Parker
Chad Coburn knows all too well the meaning of a second chance.
The 47-year-old rural Victor man had a heart attack on Oct. 14, 2020 and thanks to the quick action of not only his wife, Crystal, and son, Cael, but deputy sheriff officers, EMS officials, first responders, paramedics, doctors, nurses and life flight personnel, Coburn survived.
“These are the real heroes,” Coburn said at a thank you celebration to honor the real heroes on Sunday, May 23 at the BGM Auditorium.
The celebration was spearheaded by Bev Minear, the flight nurse with the LifeGuard Air Ambulance at Unity Point Health – St. Lukes in Cedar Rapids.
Minear was part of a three-person team that flew Coburn from Compass Memorial Healthcare in Marengo after volunteer medical professionals from Poweshiek and Iowa counties took him there following his heart attack.
Upon arrival at St. Luke’s ER, the LifeGuard team immediately took Coburn to the heart catheterization lab where Dr. Subhi Halawa placed a stent to open his 100 percent blocked vessel.
“In Chad’s case, cardiac arrest was caused by a heart blockage,” Dr. Halawa said in a hospital press release. “This is typically caused by soft plaque, which is a cholesterol build up inside the blood vessel wall. If Coburn hadn’t received treatment by this team of individuals when he did, he would not be here. He’s extremely lucky.”
“All these people did everything absolutely right and I now live without issue all because of them,” Coburn told the gathering of friends, family and local emergency personnel at the celebration. “They are important and they are not celebrated nearly enough for what they do. These people, these very humble people, who will just tell you they are doing their jobs are true heroes. For me to have lived and be OK is a huge win for them because they all aided in that win.”
Minear named each person involved in saving Coburn’s life. Each one was presented with a pin and certificate along with a hug and thank you from Coburn.
Heart Saver Hero Award recipients:
Crystal Landuyt, Coburn’s wife who called e911 and administered CPR for eight minutes until a deputy sheriff took over.
Cael Coburn, Coburn’s 13-year-old son who stayed on the phone with e911 operator throughout the ordeal.
Deputy Mark Tiedt, Iowa County Sheriff’s Office, who used an AED he carried in his vehicle to shock Coburn’s heart.
Deputy Jono Cheney, Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office, who took over chest compressions from Crystal when he arrived a few moments after Deputy Tiedt. Coburn became responsive a few minutes later.
Angels Among Us Award recipients:
Crystal Landuyt, Cael Coburn, Mark Tiedt and Jono Cheney were all recognized as “Angels Among Us,” recipients. Others receiving this honor included:
David Klaaren - e911 operator and Iowa County dispatcher on duty that night who stayed on the phone with Cael that evening.
Jessie Lacaeyse - Coburn’s sister and a registered nurse who talked to Crystal on the speaker phone the night of the heart attack. “She was the encouraging voice helping me stay focused,” said Crystal.
Josh Humphrey, Iowa County Emergency Management Coordinator, who came to Coburn’s home that night and then drove the empty Iowa County Ambulance back to Marengo since they didn’t move Chad from one ambulance to another, which saved time. Josh also stayed with Coburn’s family at the Compass Memorial Healthcare in Marengo as a support person and friend.
Victor Quick Responders - Rob Nowotny, Jessica Craig, Codie Hansen, Stephanie Thys and Dan Stowell, all volunteer First Responders who respond to all medical emergencies in their community, and who also played a role in Coburn’s lifesaving event.
East Poweshiek County Ambulance crew - Steve Plants, EMT training officer; Natalie Wilmes, EMT; Christian Williams, EMT and Chad Heyveld, driver. These folks are volunteers in Brooklyn who respond to all medical emergencies. They had Coburn in the back of their ambulance and immediately started the transport. They tiered with the Iowa County Ambulance on old Highway 6. The Iowa County crew jumped in with their equipment and transported to Compass Memorial Healthcare in Marengo.
“So no minutes were lost moving Chad from one ambulance to another,” said Minear. “Great Work! Time is life and in many instances it is.”
“We are fortunate for the volunteers we have in our community and the great community support we have,” said Wilmes, an EMT with the EPCA.
Iowa County Ambulance crew - Leah Coleman and Nick Staab, paramedics who joined the EPCA crew and provided a higher level of care to Coburn as he was transported to Compass Memorial Healthcare in Marengo.
Compass Memorial Healthcare staff - Dr. Josh Stubblefield, Emergency Room doctor; Erin Olsen, RN; Roy Grell, EMT; Stephanie Baumgartner, respiratory therapist; and Tina Welsh, Compass Memorial Healthcare ER Manager.
“Tina, you have a great group of people here whom you can be very proud of for what they did on Oct. 14, but also for what you and your team do each and every day,” Minear said. “You called the helicopter before Chad even arrived to the hospital. This is key in getting patients where they need to go in a timely manner.”
“I’m proud to work with a group of skilled professionals from First Responders to the EMS, hospital and flight crew,” said Dr. Stubblefield, ER doctor on call that night. “We do this for a living and we try to obtain the highest standards. The big difference (in Chad’s case) was the family and deputies being able to administer CPR and use the AED that helped save his life. Without that early intervention, it would have been a different outcome. That is why it is so important to have that training in the AEDs in the community.”
St. Luke’s LifeGuard Air Ambulance Crew - Bev Minear, flight nurse; Craig Liscum, CFRN/FP-C and Dave Kitchel, a float pilot.
“We had quite a head wind flying to Marengo, but that is not all bad since it only took eight minutes to return to definitive treatment at UnityPoint St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids,” noted Minear. “Things went very smooth and rapid thanks to all involved.”
Jordan Kelly, CF-RN, FP-C, the LifeGuard Air Ambulance manager at St. Luke’s, was also part of celebration. He introduced Coburn and noted that he is an outstanding citizen and it has been an honor to work with him in preparing for this celebration of thanks.
In wrapping up the celebration, Coburn said his heroes have always been law enforcement, military, EMS and those in the medical field, not professional athletes or entertainers.
“The people who are my heroes are those who make a difference in other’s lives,” Coburn said. “I have always lived to make a difference in this world by being kind, giving to others and trying to leave this life better than I found it. That hasn’t changed since my episode in October, it is just more enhanced now. The best thing I can do for that team that worked so well together that night to save my life is to show them that my life was worth saving. Because of their work, a husband, a father and a friend wasn’t lost that night, but gets to continue to live and hopefully continue to make a difference in people’s lives.”