Workers Recognized for Saving a Life

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SAINT CLAIR, Pa. -- Some workers were recognized on Monday at a factory near Pottsville after they helped save a coworker's life when he had a heart attack on the job.

That group of employees from Hexcel Corporation in Saint Clair told Newswatch 16 it was a team effort to make sure their coworker Craig Heffner stayed alive after he was found unresponsive on the factory floor back in October.

Heffner, who was at the ceremony, says he is grateful for his quick-thinking coworkers.

Heffner says he's happy to be alive.

Back on October 14, Heffner was just about to wrap up his shift when everything went dark.

"I took a cardiac arrest right near the end of my shift. I don't remember the day at all. I don't remember anything from the whole day," Heffner said.

He was found unresponsive by a coworker on the factory floor. That coworker yelled for help and three other employees came through.

Those who helped were recognized by the company at a survivors program.

Robert Steiff was the employee who gave Heffner lifesaving CPR.

"An employee from the floor asked if I knew CPR, and I do know it from being here. I got trained. I responded, and we did find Craig collapsed on the floor, and it's one of those things where you are going through the training, you don't think you'll ever use it, but it was there, and I am thankful that we had the training because, obviously, it worked," Steiff said.

Paramedics tell Newswatch 16 not only were employees working inside but there were also a few outside guiding ambulances in so they could get to Heffner.

"They had people right at the ambulance. They helped us carry our equipment in, everything," said Schuylkill EMS paramedic Jason Sterner.

Sterner was the responding paramedic, but for him, he was going to more than just a patient. He was going to help a friend.

He and Heffner have been friends for decades.

"I've helped people that I know, but I've never had a situation like this with a friend that it was this bad of a situation and it came out this well," Sterner said.

"There is not enough thanks to do that for someone. You don't think it will ever happen to you, but when it does, you're grateful that there are people around to do it and to take care of it," Heffner added.

Heffner says he is hoping to return to work on Monday, but his road to recovery isn't over just yet. He is scheduled to have heart valve surgery in February.

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