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New Lenox man lauded for CPR efforts that helped save his neighbor’s life: ‘He jumped right in there

New Lenox resident Leo Jimenez acquired CPR skills years ago, but even as he underwent the training, he didn’t really think he’d have to use them to save someone’s life.

So when a medical emergency arose one day over the summer involving his neighbor Dick Schofield, it was a bit like a pop quiz.

“At one point, I was certified in CPR,” Jimenez said. “When it happened, obviously it was one of those things that you hope you don’t have to deal with. It was no problem. It’s just like anything else where you were out there trying to help somebody.

“Dick’s wife had 911 on the phone,” Jimenez continued. “The 911 operator got me going in how to prepare myself. … It was just refreshing the memory of what to do.”

The New Lenox Fire Protection District Board of Trustees honored Jimenez for his quick actions taken to save his neighbor’s life at a recent meeting.

Schofield said he had made it home from work and ate dinner on an otherwise normal summer day when he suddenly collapsed in front of his wife.

“I didn’t feel anything leading up to that,” he said.

Deputy Fire Chief Dan Turner said Schofield had gone into cardiac arrest.

“His care took place in the field,” he said. “They were able to get him back” before taking him to Silver Cross Hospital.

The fire protection district typically sends 4 or 5 personnel to calls of this type, officials said. In this case, an additional fire apparatus and a battalion chief were sent to the scene.

“It was very severe,” Turner said. “After 8 minutes, you’re biologically dead.”

Turner attributes the success of the rescue effort, in part, to Jimenez for his quick thinking.

“We filled in after, but because of Leo’s efforts jumping in, even though it’s not his profession or line of work, it made a difference,” Turner said.

Schofield said he’s doing well considering what he experienced.

“Everything’s back to normal,” he said. “I just had my 3-month check-up, and they said, ‘you’re doing great. Keep it up.’”

Schofield said he is thankful for his neighbor’s quick actions.

“He’s a life saver,” he said. “It was awesome to know that he didn’t really hesitate. He jumped right in there.”

Jimenez said despite his earlier training, he wasn’t sure his CPR skills were up to the task.

“That was my biggest worry,” he said. “It was an emergency. I just went ahead and did what I could do until the paramedics got there.”

Jimenez said he’s been overwhelmed by the attention he’s received since saving his neighbor’s life.

“It was a great honor,” he said. “I was surprised. I wasn’t expecting anything.”


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