Near-death experience on Hortonville band trip stresses importance of CPR training

72-year-old Linda Leith, her grand daughter Shannon, and daughter Michelle on the Hortonville Band trip to D.C., July 8th 2018. (Courtesy: Linda Leith)

HORTONVILLE, Wis. (WLUK) -- A Greenville man's CPR training is being applauded after he saved a woman's life.

It happened during a Hortonville High School band trip to march in the Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C. last week.

For 72-year-old Linda Leith it was a trip she'll never forget.

"Basically a sudden cardiac death on the ground, to sitting here talking to you is pretty amazing," Leith told FOX 11.

Leith, whose granddaughter is in the band, collapsed while out touring Arlington National Cemetery with the students.

"The next thing I knew I was looking at three strange men in the back of an ambulance," she continued. "And had no idea what happened to me"

"Everyone just jumped into action. I grabbed the phone to call 911," said Jennifer Hohn, a chaperone. "CPR began right away with Tom and Michelle, life saving efforts took place."

The group is applauding the efforts of Tom Veeser, who was also a chaperone on the trip, trained in CPR.

  • For more information on CPR courses offered near you click here.

"I'm not trying to be dramatic, but she would have not lived if we didn't have people who understood CPR immediately next to her," Veeser said.

Veeser, with the help of Leith's daughter Michelle, rendered CPR to Leith until an ambulance arrived.

"Six and a half minutes of CPR," he explained. "And then another 15 minutes stabilizing her with an AED getting vital signs."

Leith has since been released from the hospital, and is making the trip back home to Wisconsin.

But she is stressing the importance of those trained in CPR, like Veeser. And the readily availability of an AED, a device used for emergency heart failure.

"The real heroes are the people who know how to do that," said Leith. "And take the time and energy to learn it and practice it."

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