Former Meadow Lake resident saves a man’s life

by Phil Ambroziak

Tricia Klemenz doesn’t consider herself a hero.

“People have called me a hero, but I just did what had to be done,” the former Meadow Lake resident said.

Klemenz (nee Pethick), a teacher and a certified first responder, was officiating a minor hockey game at the Weyburn Sports Arena recently when she suddenly found herself racing from the ice into the stands to save a man’s life.

“There was about 13 minutes left in the third period when I noticed a commotion in the stands,” Klemenz explained. “The next thing I knew, some parents I know from my role as a teacher were calling to me, saying I was needed up there.”

Klemenz left the ice and ran down the hallway, still wearing her skates.

“As I was running down the hall, I yelled for someone to bring me the automatic external defibrillator (AED),” she continued.

“When I hit the concrete, I knew I needed to get my skates off because they were only going to slow me down.”

Some of the parents quickly helped Klemenz remove her skates. When she arrived at the scene of the commotion, she discovered an elderly man unconscious on the floor.

“I asked the person who was trying to conduct CPR on him if he had a pulse and the answer was no,” she said.

Klemenz, with the assistance of the Weyburn fire chief who had also made his way to the scene, hooked the AED up to the man, gave him two shocks and began conducting CPR.

“The first shock didn’t work, but after the second one we found a pulse,” Klemenz said. “We continued our resuscitation efforts. By the time the ambulance arrived, we had him breathing again. And, when he was being taken out on the stretcher, he was already trying to sit up and to talk.”

Klemenz, who teaches and lives in Yellow Grass, SK, became a certified first responder in 2001. It’s a responsibility that keeps her on duty in her community 24/7. Although she does not know the name of the man she saved, Klemenz does know he is a resident of Radville, SK.

“His revival was a team effort and he is very lucky the local rink was equipped with an AED because, without it, it would have been a different outcome,” she said. “He is now at home with his family, which for them is the greatest gift of all this Christmas.”

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