Golf Course

Stephen Blattner’s family business has a history of giving back to the communities of Avon and Albany, Minn. For the past 17 years, Blattner Energy has hosted a fundraiser for the local emergency services departments, raising approximately $600,000 since 2001. The money raised through this event is used to purchase new rescue equipment.

In May 2017, those efforts to support the community helped save Steve’s life.

Friends take action

Steve was finishing up a round of golf at the Albany Golf Course with friends Robert Schwegler and Tom Cress, when he suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

"We were just finishing up on the last hole, approaching the green, and apparently I just kind of stiffened up. Tom could tell something was wrong. He stopped the cart and I fell out of it," says Steve.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the AED certainly contributed to his full recovery.” – Robert Schwegler, Golfing partner

Tom, a retired doctor, and Robert, a retired dentist, took immediate action. Tom could not find a pulse as he was calling 911. Robert immediately began chest compression and Tom called the clubhouse for the AED. Golf course employee Mary Lauer arrived with the ZOLL® AED moments later, and Robert attached the device to Steve. The AED advised two shocks. After the second shock Steve’s pulse returned.

When Stearns County Deputy Troy Jansky and the fire department arrived, Steve was still unconscious, although he had regained a pulse. The fire department attached a chest compression machine to Steve and transported him to the hospital. There, Steve received two stents. He was then put into a coma for two days, and his temperature decreased to 90 degrees. He was then released from the hospital with a ZOLL LifeVest® wearable defibrillator. In October that year, Steve had an automatic cardiac defibrillator (ICD) implanted to help prevent further irregular heart rhythms.

Thanks to the quick action of his golfing partners and first responders to provide CPR, use an AED, and get him to the hospital, Steve is able to tell his story today.

Back in the swing of things

A month after his SCA, Steve was back on the golf course with Robert and Tom. And, just three months later, he had his first hole in one.

“I feel very good,” says Steve. “I feel like I’ve recovered 100%.”

Steve is grateful that his friends knew what to do when he collapsed, and that local responders had the right equipment to save his life.

"I tell others, if they get the opportunity, they should take a class and learn how to do CPR. You never know when it’s going to happen to you, or you’re going to be on one side or the other of the situation….I’m just grateful they knew what to do."

Steve’s foursome: (L to R) Merle Bauer, Tom Cress, Steve, and Robert Schwegler

Robert adds, "As a past president of the Minnesota Board of Dentistry, I strongly urge all dental offices to have trained staff and a AED in the office. There is no doubt in my mind that without the use of the AED in the timely fashion that we used it, our golfing partner would not be in as great shape as he is today."

“I tell others, if they get the opportunity, they should take a class and learn how to do CPR. You never know when it’s going to happen to you, or you’re going to be on one side or the other of the situation…. I’m just grateful they knew what to do.” – Robert Schwegler, Golfing partner

What goes around comes around

The various fundraisers over the years have paid off for Steve. His donations have provided the community with equipment and resources for unexpected emergencies. And now, the community gave back by helping to save his life.

Through ZOLL’s Heroes for Life Program, ZOLL will donate an AED Plus® to a charity on Steve’s behalf. Steve chose to donate an AED Plus to The Mother of Mercy Senior Living Center in Albany, Minn., which is right next to where the incident happened.