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Minoa man performs CPR, helps to save a life

Thomas Wink, of Minoa, is retired from New Process Gear. He took a CPR class through work more than 15 years ago and never had to use it until last month.

Thomas Wink, of Minoa, is retired from New Process Gear. He took a CPR class through work more than 15 years ago and never had to use it until last month. Allie Wenner

— On his way to Michigan over Labor Day weekend, Thomas Wink thought the most notable event during the trip would be his granddaughter’s first birthday party. But on the day before he was scheduled to head home to Minoa, he ended up doing something he’d never done before.

He was visiting his daughter and son-in-law, who live next door to Larry and Sharon Susella in Romeo, MI. On the day after Labor Day, he and his son-in-law, Kevin, were moving some dead branches out to the road while Larry was working in his backyard. Wink said Kevin told him that Larry had gotten stung by a bee, and that he didn’t think much about it until he heard Sharon screaming.

“I went running in as soon as I heard her screaming,” Wink said. “As soon as I walked in and saw him, I knew he didn’t look good. He had collapsed into a chair and he was shaking a little. We checked for a pulse and couldn’t find one – he felt very cold and clammy.”

By this point, Sharon had called 911 and was talking to someone on the phone. The woman said that somebody had to start doing chest compressions – and Wink was the only person present who knew CPR.

“As it happened, I was thinking to myself, ‘This guy might die. If I can do something and I fail, he may die anyway. But if I do something and succeed, maybe he’ll live. And that’s the way I looked at it.”

Within 15 minutes, EMS responders arrived and took Larry to the hospital. As it turned out, Larry wasn’t allergic to bees, like they had been assuming. The doctors told the Susellas that Larry an 80 percent blockage in his left artery in his heart – which they didn’t know previous to the incident. Sharon said that the bee sting was a catalyst which made his body go into cardiac arrest.

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