Heart & Hustle
“We may not have an opportunity to save a life, but we have an opportunity to change a life” – Jeff Utzinger, Sudden Cardiac Arrest survivor, colleague, and friend.
An AED or, automated external defibrillator, is used to help those experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest. This gadget is an easy-to-use, medical device that can deliver an electrical shock to help restart the heart.
During Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), you have under 10 minutes to be treated without irreversible lifelong effects. Minutes matter.
SCA is a developmental issue and does not discriminate against health, age, gender, race, etc. It can happen to anyone. In SCA, the heart suddenly develops a chaotic rhythm and fails to effectively pump blood. It is the leading killer in the United States, with a 7% survival rate, claiming an estimated 325,000 lives each year. An AED is the only way to restart a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest.
One of our very own, Jeff Utzinger, is an SCA survivor. Jeff has been with NCW for 3 years, and in 2017 he suffered SCA, an experience that would change his life forever.
On a Tuesday morning in the early summer, Jeff was out for his usual morning run. About 2.5 miles in, he collapsed to the ground – lifeless. An innocent bystander, Bill Schiles saved his life. After a missed turn in his usual route, Bill saw a car pulled over on the side of the road with another bystander hovering over Jeff. Bill immediately called 9-1-1 and was talked through CPR as first responders made their way to the scene. Three minutes after the initial dispatcher call, a Carmel police car arrived – it was luckily equipped with an AED, which is very rare.
With no recollection of the traumatic event or recovery, only knowing what he was told, Jeff realized he would not be here today if it were not for the combination of Bill stepping up and the nearby AED. He has made it his mission to spread awareness, educate, and make AED’s available. Jeff was lucky that in his community every police vehicle was equipped with an AED, far from the norm.
Bolt for the Heart
Jeff currently serves on the board at Bolt for the Heart with his personal goal to equip every police car in Indiana with an AED, much like the one that saved his life.
Bolt for the Heart is an organization that serves Indiana, particularly those affected by heart disease, through education, financial support, and direct assistance. Through family-oriented outdoor fundraisers, the organization can address heart disease prevention, stroke awareness, smoking cessation, and healthy lifestyles. In addition, they provide direct assistance and support to the Indiana State Police, local police, local fire agencies, local schools, churches, and community organizations by purchasing and placing AEDs at their facilities, free of charge and training staff on their successful usage.
Their efforts helped equip all Carmel Police Department vehicles with AEDs, the one that rescued Jeff. They are currently working with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) to supply their vehicles as well.
We took matters into our own hands here at NCW. On November 20th, we donated an AED. IMPD Officer, Dylan Sheets, who is months into his career as an officer was the lucky recipient of our donated AED. He hopes to never have to use it. If he does, he has been trained and will hopefully save a life, just like Bill did.
During our AED donation, Officer Sheets was accompanied by his overseer, Commander Catherine Cummings, the Bolt for the Heart President Pierre Twer, and Jeff. Jeff provided our company with a brief tutorial on how to use the device, as Pierre expressed the efforts of the organization and goals that Bolt for the Heart had in the upcoming years. This was livestreamed on our social media platforms and can be found in our Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tv/CH0N82mp0cX/.
Be on the lookout for stickers on the IMPD cop cars letting you know the vehicle is equipped with an AED. You might even see our logo on one of them!
Be Like Bill
“Jump in and act” when others are suffering. Jeff created this campaign to give gratitude to the man that saved his life and indirectly saved his family that day. Bill was in the wrong place at the right time. Although never being trained, he remained calm during CPR.
Be Like Bill is the campaign, named in appreciation of this heroic act. Be Like Bill’s mission is focused on increasing survival rates through awareness, education, and raising money to get more AED’s in the community. Jeff was lucky and expresses, “my story should be the norm, not the exception.”
Bolt for the Heart 5K Run
As mentioned before, Bolt for the Heart raises money through outdoor fundraisers like their Thanksgiving Day Family 5K. In its 9th year, the Carmel tradition went virtual, and we participated!
Year after year, this fundraiser brings in family and friends who have been impacted by heart conditions and those who have not. Our Denver office and some employees from our Indianapolis office participated virtually this year. Our athletes ran their 5K and sent us the pictures below.
This 5K was a great way to start off the holiday season, giving us each a reminder there is much to be thankful for with our health and available resources.
What to do if an SCA strikes:
For those who are inexperienced with SCA, here are the simple steps to follow if someone around you goes into sudden cardiac arrest:
- Call 911 and follow dispatcher instructions.
- Start CPR as advised by dispatch.
- Use the nearest AED as quickly as possible. The AED gives out instructions when you open the device. There will be stickers with directions on where to properly place the shock pads, as well as a countdown for user to stand clear. Continue using AED until help has arrived.
Remember, minutes matter! We hope that you better understand Sudden Cardiac Arrest, how it can affect people, and what to do if you are ever in a situation.
Jeff says it best: “You don’t have to know CPR – it helps and can prepare you, but it’s not required to be a good human being…nothing is, outside of just taking action. That’s my wish – that everyone is ready to Be like Bill if called upon.”