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Officers save heart attack victim’s life

By Staff | May 8, 2013

Herbert Keys II (provided by his family)

(Editor’s note: Herbert Keys II, the man whose life was saved as described in the following story, reprinted courtesy of the Beaver County Times, is originally from Paden City.

He is the son of Carol Moore of New Martinsville and brother to Danny Keys of Friendly and Luke Keys of New Martinsville.)

Two local Beaver County police officers jogging on the Montour Trail in Moon Township in March helped save an Ambridge man’s life after he was found with no pulse.

Beaver Det. Jim DeGori and Brighton Township Cpl. Rich Gianvito have both received letters of commendation from Moon police Chief Leo McCarthy for their actions on March 20 that saved Herbert Keys II, 53.

“I don’t know what the future holds for Mr. Keys. I do know that you and your team of caring individuals gave him the best possible chance to survive,” McCarthy wrote in the letter.

“I just wanted to express my thanks to you for doing a great job that saved a man’s life.”

McCarthy said he also has recognized Moon resident Troy Karlik in a letter for stopping to help Keys, too.

DeGori and Gianvito were jogging on the trail near Hassam Road and the water treatment plant at 5:15 p.m. when, Gianvito said, he came around a bend and saw Keys laying flat on his back on the trail.

“It was one of those moments, you just don’t expect it,” Gianvito said.

Karlik had discovered Keys a few seconds earlier and ran to the road to flag down a motorist to call 911. DeGori, who was jogging a short ways behind Gianvito, arrived and the two officers began taking turns doing chest compressions on Keys, who was not breathing and had no pulse.

“It kind of felt like an eternity,” DeGori said of the wait for help, but Moon officer Justin Blair quickly got there and used a portable automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock Keys.

Moon officers continued to do CPR on Keys until Valley Ambulance personnel arrived. Blair wrote in his report that Keys was breathing by the time he was headed to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

“We were like, ‘Holy cow!’ ” said DeGori. “There were all the signs that there was no life there.”

Blair wrote that “the efforts of Karlik, DeGori and Gianvito prior to our arrival provided the best possible chance of the survival of Keys.”

Fate, it seems, steered both officers to the trail that day.

Gianvito said not only was that his first time running on the Montour Trail, but he had just taken a CPR refresher course two days before.

“It’s just a great feeling that the guy’s alive,” he said.

DeGori, who said it was the first time he had to use his CPR training, said he contemplated not jogging on the cold day, but gave in to Gianvito’s prodding.

Their chiefs credited the officers’ training for giving them the tools to respond to such a medical emergency.

“That’s what we’re trained to do as police officers,” said Brighton police Chief Howard Blinn.

“We’re proud of both of them,” added Beaver Police Chief Dan Madgar.

“Proud that both officers reacted and were able to utilize their training.”