Mondovi couple raising AED awareness

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 7:13 PM CST
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MONDOVI, Wis. (WEAU) - Buffalo Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin was down on the field receiving life saving CPR for 10 minutes before he was resuscitated with an AED. For one couple in Mondovi, the situation was strikingly familiar. Bob and Elaine Rud were in attendance at a Mondovi football game, in September 2021, also their 55th wedding anniversary, when Bob suffered a sudden heart attack in the stands.

“The announcer made the statement that everybody please stand and remove your headgear,” said Bob Rud. “And I did that and was watching the flag go up. As for the national anthem, it got about halfway up and the lights went out. And that’s the last I remember for a few days.”

Elaine, Bob’s wife, flew into action calling for help and an AED to restart his heart rhythm. A coach ran over an AED and a member of the crowd cut helped cut off Bob’s shirt and sweatshirt to be able to place the pads. Elaine used her own expertise as well as the AED, and Bob was quickly ushered into an ambulance.

“I was actually focused so much on saving his life because I am a nurse and my training took over,” said Elaine Rud.

Bob was able to make a full recovery thanks to the rapid lifesaving care he received.

“Within three weeks, we were back to the Mondovi football game for Dawson’s [the Rud’s grandson] homecoming,” said Elaine Rud

“I’m doing fine,” said Bob Rud. “But if wouldn’t have been for the machine, I wouldn’t have made it.”

The Rud’s call it a miracle. And they’ve turned that miracle into a mission.

“So my whole mission is to talk and spread this word to everyone,” said Elaine Rud. “So more AEDs are available. And now I teach a lot of CPR/AED. And I tell everybody I’ve got personal, firsthand experience of how if you are trained and you have an emergency, your training will automatically take over.”

The Ruds have been spreading their mission to area schools and churches. In addition to spreading AED awareness, they have also asked the WIAA to add an announcement of a school’s AED location before every game. In a statement, the WIAA said that they provide resources for schools to make an announcement and that they are now considering adding it on a full time basis.