Reporting Aristea Brady
PLYMOUTH, Minn. (WCCO) – A Plymouth man says good timing saved his life.
Ken Hunze was riding his bike around Medicine Lake when he suffered a heart attack.
Within a minute, an off-duty firefighter who has performed CPR dozens of times came to Ken’s rescue.
The tale is nothing short of a miracle.
Pointing to a cake he brought to Plymouth Fire Station 2 on Old Rockford Road, Hunze read the message written in frosting, “It says ‘Thank you from Ken and Nancy, to the Plymouth Firemen and Blaine in particular.’”
While it’s not a birthday cake per se, it is a cake that celebrates another year of life for 62-year-old Ken Hunze, a year that doctors say might never have come without a chance encounter.
“I remember going for a bike ride after work around Medicine Lake … and the next thing I remember is waking up nine days later at North Memorial,” Hunze said.
Soon after, the hunt started to find out who gave Hunze the fighting chance. His big lead came from a police report.
“I said, ‘Are you Blaine?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ And I said ‘Thank you,’” Hunze said.
Said Lt. firefighter Blaine Duncan: “It was definitely neat to see him and get to shake his hand, because he looked a lot better than the last time I had seen him.”
The Plymouth firefighter was on his way home, coincidentally on a route he doesn’t normally take.
“As I was driving down the road, I saw some cars that were stopped on the side of the road and I naturally slowed down and looked to see what it was,” Duncan said.
Duncan said he saw Hunze lying on the sidewalk face down. When he didn’t sense a pulse, he started CPR. In his 10 years on the job, Duncan has given CPR nearly 40 times.
“The first five minutes of any situation like that are absolutely critical,” Duncan said. “His story of survival is definitely a miracle.”
Said Hunze: “There was a guiding hand all the way through this.”
A guiding hand that made one thing clear — it wasn’t Hunze’s time.
“Certainly not, and I’m glad for that,” Hunze said.
This is not the first time Duncan and Hunze’s paths have crossed.
About a year ago, Hunze and his wife were evacuated from their Plymouth apartment complex after it caught on fire.
Duncan was one of the firefighters who helped put the fire out.