HeartSAFE heroes awarded for saving Wyomissing man's life

'God put me in the right place at the right time'

HeartSAFE heroes awarded for saving Wyomissing man's life

LOWER ALSACE TWP., Pa. - Some first responders in Berks County have received a special honor as a Wyomissing man thanks them for saving his life.

Those responders -- Wyomissing police Sgt. John Philips, Ofc. Matthew Cavallo and nurse Kelli Calvert -- received Reading Hospital Heart Heroes awards on Tuesday.

"It gives me hope that there are people out there to step forward when someone is in need," said Walter Petroski, a cardiac arrest survivor.

Petroski is alive today because of those first responders.

"I don't feel like I necessarily deserve an award because it's my job," said Calvert.

Last year, Petroski went into cardiac arrest at the Wyomissing Farmers Market. Calvert was off duty, waiting in the check-out line, when she saw Petroski fall.

"You just do what you have to do until someone else is there," she said.

Petroski said he's a relatively active guy, so in the days leading up to the ordeal at the Wyomissing Farmers Market, he said he spent time in the gym and walked several miles.

"And out of nowhere I just, I just dropped. Very unexpected, and it can happen to anybody," Petroski said.

Calvert performed CPR until Phillips and Cavallo arrived with a HeartSAFE-issued defibrillator.

"Whenever you get to do something positive in the community like saving a life, it's a great feeling," Cavallo said.

Eight years ago, HeartSAFE began issuing defibrillators to first responders in Berks County. Since then, 550 have been issued, and around 30 lives have been saved, including Petroski's. It's a gift he'll cherish forever.

"God put me in the right place at the right time where God-willing caring hands were there to help me in the best way possible," said Petroski.

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