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The Story of A Life Saved in Lafayette

Jim Engelhardt is up and around again after a heart ailment and a save by CPR from Lafayette police officers and other emergency responders Sept. 16 at the Lafayette Art and Wine Festival.

Jim Engelhardt is back to walking three miles a day, and his Lafayette lifesavers are pleased.

"Our training paid off," said Lafayette Police Officer Debra Williams of a CPR job that saved Engelhardt's life at the Lafayette Art and Wine Festival Sept. 16.

Engelhardt of Placerville — whose retirement job is creating art and furniture from barnwood, driftwood and old architectural elements found at antique shops and estate sales — was packing up his wares at 8:15 p.m. Sept. 16 when he was stricken by heart pain. He had a 98 percent blockage of the main artery known as "the Widowmaker," Engelhardt wrote in a letter of thanks to the Lafayette Police Department. (A printout of the letter is attached to this article.)

Cathy Surges-Moscato, LPD community service officer, was riding in a golf cart with Sgt. Dan Nugent, monitoring the end of the fair. A citizen flagged them down and they went to the scene, where bystanders were doing CPR. "I watched the people doing CPR and saw they were doing a good job," said Surges-Moscato. "I ran and got an AED (automatic external defibrillator)."

Officer Jacqui Dennison charged up the AED. "I did one shock with the AED and heard him begin to moan … I checked his carotid (artery) and it was pounding." Then firefighters and AMR (American Medical Response) took over the care. "He was talking by the time the ambulance left," Dennison said, a hopeful sign for recovery.

In his letter of thanks to LPD, Engelhardt said his vocabulary didn't have enough "nickel" words to express what he owes to the Lafayette officers.

"I'm doing great," Engelhardt wrote in an Oct. 30 email with many exclamation points "Eating healthier, walking three miles a day again, enjoying the A's and the World Series, Stanford football games on idyllic fall days, and looking forward to the holidays with my family."

Engelhardt, a native of San Leandro, was for 29 years a firefighter and police officer in Sunnyvale before retiring to Placerville. In his artistic business, Relics Reborn, he creates art and furniture, including historic scenes, from barnwood, driftwood and scrap architectural elements.

The police officers and Leslie Mueller of AMR and Pam Dodson, an EMS nurse, received a letter of recognition and the thanks of the Lafayette City Council earlier this month.

Aprohaska November 19, 2012 at 05:32 AM
Wow! "widowmakers" are generally a done deal.....Great job Lafayette PD!!! It says volumes about not only your training, but your fast response time,as well as keeping cool heads during a crisis.......For a "widow maker", you've got only minutes,as well as proper CPR to save someone.......What a great thing to have done.....
Born and Raised November 20, 2012 at 09:56 PM
All these officers perform an outstanding service for this community. Special shout out to Officer Dennison for bringing my mail back to my house (after finding mine and 11 others mail in another mailbox) and telling me that she's looking into whether or not they can find out if it was a mistake or a try at identity theft.

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