If it wasn’t for his decision to head to the driving range the morning of November 4, John Van Teeckelenburgh would not be in attendance to meet John Tuller and Bob Morin and thank the two PGA Golf Club staff members for saving his life after a heart attack.
On Friday, the St. Lucie County Fire Department honored Tuller and Morin with the Citizens Hero Award at an emotional ceremony at the St. Lucie County Fire District Building. The two were working at the PGA Learning Center on Nov. 4 when Van Teeckelenburgh showed up to hit golf balls. Despite feeling ill that morning, and with his wife out of town, he left for the Learning Center.
Yet at the practice range, Van Teeckelenburgh continued to feel ill and left without hitting a single golf ball. He returned to the PGA Learning Center’s Golf Shop and requested a refund. Patrick Brosnihan, Operations Manager at the PGA Learning Center and Certified Class A PGA Professional, behind the counter at the time, informed John V. he could receive a rain check or he could process a refund. In a matter of seconds, Van Teeckelenburgh passed out. Brosnihan rushed to his aid as another staff member Billy Ore, Certified Class A PGA Professional called 911.
Brosnihan also radioed Tuller and Morin, who immediately made their way to the golf shop. With Van Teeckelenburgh slipping further into cardiac arrest, Tuller and Morin utilized a defibrillator and administered CPR until paramedics arrived and continued lifesaving actions/efforts.
Van Teeckelenburghwas taken to Lawnwood Hospital in Fort Pierce, and was released several days later.
The EMTs mentioned that the efforts of Tuller, a former firefighter, and Morin, a former police officer, aided their efforts to stabilize his condition before transporting him to the hospital, and likely saved his life.
During the ceremony, Van Teeckelenburgh was very emotional as he thanked Tuller and Morin for their heroic efforts. There were laughs, too, especially when discussing when he would use his rain check, or even better play a round at PGA Golf Club. What he is most thankful for is having witnessed his son, walk his granddaughter down the aisle this December at her wedding.
From their experiences as public service officers, both Tuller and Morin, unfortunately, know that situations like this often don’t have a happy ending.
Thankfully for everyone involved, the Golf Gods were on their side.
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