MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities dad is alive thanks to the quick-thinking of strangers.

VT collapsed on the tennis court at Lifetime Fitness in White Bear Lake on July 30. He went into cardiac arrest while getting ready to serve in a tennis game.

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But luckily, those around him did not panic.

“Didn’t see it coming,” VT said. “It came out of nowhere.”

Employees called 911, began CPR immediately and then activated an AED. They did all of this in front of VT’s wife and two young kids.

“You never know how you’re going to respond,” general manager Stephanie Peloquin. “Thinking, ‘This is it, get ready and don’t be afraid.'”

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Peloquin was one of the first on scene. Though she was AED certified, she had never used one in a real situation. On the other hand, science teacher Dave Kahl, who was performing CPR on VT, had been in a similar situation with a different outcome.

“The first time I was in that situation the person did not make it. It helped definitely to have that experience,” Kahl said.

Working together, a group of strangers helped to get VT’s heart stabilized before he was rushed to the hospital.

They were honored Tuesday night at White Bear Lake City Hall for saving his life.

“Each one of them made a difference,” VT said. “They are the reason I am standing on my own two feet. It makes a big difference for all of us.”

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First responders believe VT’s heart was in cardiac arrest for about 10 minutes. He had bypass surgery and now has two stents in his heart, but he is hoping to be back on the tennis court by February.

John Lauritsen